Airport and Handguns


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Lovesbeer99
May 22, 2012, 10:51 AM
Little Help please? I've seen some posts regarding how to fly with handguns but I'm not sure what the best key words are to search.

What I need clarification on is the hard case. Does the suit case need to be hard sided, or can I get a hard lockable box and set it in my soft sided suit case.

Thanks in advance.

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mdauben
May 22, 2012, 10:55 AM
Does the suit case need to be hard sided, or can I get a hard lockable box and set it in my soft sided suit case.
The latter (hard case inside regular suit case) is the preferred method. This way your checked luggage does not scream "Steal Me!". ;)

NavyLCDR
May 22, 2012, 11:28 AM
According to Federal regulations:

Unloaded gun goes in a hard sided case. Ammo can be in the case with the gun, just not in the gun. Ammo should be in a factory box to minimize problems. Magazines can also go in the case. If you are going to try to keep the magazines loaded, they need to be in a pouch such that the ammo is completely covered. Ammo can also be in an after market box (flip top plastic) specifically made for ammo. The gun case can then go in standard luggage.

Locks that ONLY you have and keep the key/combo to go on the hardsided gun case. Do NOT surrender the keys/combo to anyone. If they want the case opened for inspection YOU unlock it. That also means standard locks, no TSA locks.

Declare to the counter person at the airline that you have an unloaded firearm in checked baggage to declare. They will give you a tag to sign that the gun is unloaded. They may or may not ask to see that the gun is unloaded. The tag goes near the hard sided gun case inside your checked luggage. Your luggage can have a TSA lock on it, if you desire.

The counter person will tell you what to do with your bag containing a firearm, it will normally get x-rayed seperately by TSA. At your destination, your luggage containing the firearm pops out on the carousel with the rest of the bags.

Even though Federal regulations allow it, some airlines will not allow ammo to be in the gun case with the gun, if properly packaged it should be simple to pull the ammo out of the gun case and transport it in the luggage.

MedWheeler
May 22, 2012, 12:20 PM
The suitcase need not be hard-sided. Only the case containing the firearm (and ammo, if applicable) must be hard-sided.

(A re-post of mine from January of 2011 to a similar thread)
Flying with guns is actually pretty easy. I just got back from a trip to ABQ (from where I live in Florida) to bury my father. He left me two guns, both handguns, which I brought back with me. I also brought one with me for the trip, as NM recognizes both OC and Florida's CC license. The first check-in, in Florida for the trip out, had the US-Air gate attendant have me open the locked case and show her the empty chamber of my PF-9. Two loaded magazines were fully enclosed in pouches, and placed in the same hard-sided locked case as the pistol. This is acceptable per TSA requirements, and the airlines usually just go by them. The case must be "hard-sided", and the lock on the case must be accessible to you only; no "TSA locks." It can be either a keyed lock, or a combination lock. On the back trip, I was not asked to open the cases (Continental Airlines, now a US-Air affiliate.) I simply declared them; the PF-9, with its magazines, was in the same small locked cash box it went out in, and the two revolvers picked up from the estate were in a locked briefcase. Also in the briefcase was a box of ammunition for the revolvers. Once declared, the piece of luggage containing these two containers was moved to first-in-line for x-ray, checked as luggage, and everything was fine.
I used a metal cash box with a keyed lock for the Kel-Tec on each trip. It could not hold the two additional guns I was bringing back, so I used a hard-sided briefcase I found on my dad's property for them on the back-trip (it has a combination lock.)

HGUNHNTR
May 22, 2012, 12:20 PM
Check with the carriers website.

MedWheeler
May 22, 2012, 12:43 PM
Check with the carriers website.

Most will simply follow the TSA requirements, but it's a good idea to make sure. The carrier's site will usually include a link to the TSA's as well.

Drail
May 22, 2012, 12:43 PM
There are the Federal TSA rules (kind of vague and they make it up as they go - I don't think any of them have actually seen or have access to the TSA rulebook - they really do make it up along the way) - and then there are the carrier's regs. The carrier's regs will decide whether it will go on their aircraft since you have agreed to abide by their rules when you purchased a ticket on their airline. The problems I have encountered almost always concerned the air carrier's employees being clueless as to their company's rules. Don't argue with them. Go to the carrier's website before you fly and print out a copy of the AIRLINE'S (not the TSA's) current rules and carry them with you. If a airline agent gives you a hard time ask to see their supervisor and present them with their own rules and let them read it. This will usually solve any problems. Do not let them place the "Unloaded firearm" tag on the outside of your luggage - under Federal law the tag MUST go inside the hard locked case with the gun. Some airline employees will insist on placing it on the outside of you luggage. Be polite and patient with the employees - a lot of them are terrified of firearms and will try to bluff you and hope you go away. The gun must be in a hard locked case and only YOU may possess a key to it. Do not use a TSA lock on the pistol case. I have alway used a cheap Doskocil hard pistol case with a large padlock secured around both handles and with the gun broken down inside (not required but it seems to scare them a little less. Also when you go to the ticket counter to inform them that you wish to check an unloaded firearm be SURE that they understand you are NOT a law enforcement officer (this is IMPORTANT). Some will ask and some will "assume" that you must be a cop. That requires completely different procedure and paperwork and on several occasions I have had the ticket counter people assume that I am a cop. This can lead to a very bad scene if you don't catch it before boarding or before the TSA clowns get involved. Do not give them the key and let them walk away - you must remain present if they want to inspect it. It's really not a big hassle IF you comply with the rules and they know their own rules. There are a lot of them that don't. The decision of allowing a firearm to be placed on an aircraft rests solely on the airline and the Pilot in Command of that aircraft. If the pilot says NO then it's not going in the baggage hold. I have never seen that happen though but they have that authority. Be polite and be patient with them.

NavyLCDR
May 22, 2012, 01:00 PM
Do not let them place the "Unloaded firearm" tag on the outside of your luggage - under Federal law the tag MUST go inside the hard locked case with the gun.

Only partially true. 18 USC 922 (e) makes it illegal for an airline to cause any marking to be on the outside of luggage containing a firearm. HOWEVER, there is NO Federal law that requires the declaration tag to go inside the hard locked case with the gun. Normal procedure is to place the declaration tag inside the luggage, somewhere near the hard sided gun case.

49 CFR 1540.11 (c) is the exact regulation covering unloaded firearms carried in checked baggage.
49 CFR 175.10 (a)(8) is the exact regulation covering ammunition carried in checked baggage.

Drail
May 22, 2012, 01:08 PM
You are correct sir. sorry for the misinformation.

NavyLCDR
May 22, 2012, 01:19 PM
You are correct sir. sorry for the misinformation.

Although, if the locked hard sided gun case was going by itself, not inside luggage, then your statement would be 100% accurate :D

razorback2003
May 22, 2012, 09:14 PM
I have put my handguns in a hard sided pistol case with egg crate padding inside for shipping guns. It is lockable. I then put the small pistol case inside my suitcase. The ammo can be either in your suitcase or the hard sided case in the original box/plastic ammo carrier. Be sure you have a good case because baggage handlers are moving fast and can be hard on luggage.

Drail
May 22, 2012, 09:22 PM
Make sure you read and understand the laws concerning firearm possession in every city and State you may land in. People have been arrested in N.J., N.Y. and Chicago for not knowing local regs. As far as ammunition goes be sure to read the airline's rules on that, they seem to vary some on how much is allowed to be checked and how they want it packaged. Here's a brain teaser for you all - the Indianapolis International Airport has signs posted at every entrance that No Weapons are allowed in the airport (anywhere in the terminal, not just the sterile areas) or on the airport grounds, parking lots or any property owned or operated by the airport authority. The sign also states that "violaters WILL be prosecuted". I believe it is just a rule, not a law, but one has to wonder how you are supposed to get to the check in counter to declare a firearm if you cannot bring it into the airport. I have asked the airport police about this and they just smile and walk away.

lloveless
May 23, 2012, 12:49 AM
I have always locked my gun case with non-tsa locks. I flew home from Alaska 4/2011. On opening my suitcase I find my guncase minus the lock. I opened the guncase and find my lock with all pieces of it that TSA cut off the case. My gun was there and the ammo.
ll

Warp
May 23, 2012, 12:53 AM
One thing I learned...never let them take your suitcase (the one with a gun) until TSA has checked it. They will always either take it while you follow, escort you, or direct you to take it to the oversize baggage screening area where you tell TSA you have a firearm to check and they inspect your luggage right there in front of you, so that you can open the locked hardsided case to show them the gun (they aren't supposed to touch the gun). Then you lock the case back up, they send the suitcase through the X-ray, do the little explosive residue test thing, and you are on your way.

Once, when I didn't argue as forcefully as I should have, the airline employee put my bag, with checked gun, on the conveyor like normal. I missed my flight because by the time I got to my gate and heard them paging for me to go ALL the way back so TSA could check the gun, it was too late.

Oh yes, also do not let them give you the form to fill out that is for LEOs who are qualified to be armed while on the plane. It's just a simple orange 'best buy' shaped tag that says the gun is unloaded, and you sign/date it.

As far as ammunition goes be sure to read the airline's rules on that, they seem to vary some on how much is allowed to be checked and how they want it packaged.

YES. Check your specific airline's policies. I once flew AirTran and had a problem because they did not allow ammunition to be in the same piece of luggage as a firearm. Even when I was down to having a 9mm pistol and a couple boxes of 12 gauge slugs in the same suitcase...no-go.

Here's a brain teaser for you all - the Indianapolis International Airport has signs posted at every entrance that No Weapons are allowed in the airport (anywhere in the terminal, not just the sterile areas) or on the airport grounds, parking lots or any property owned or operated by the airport authority. The sign also states that "violaters WILL be prosecuted". I believe it is just a rule, not a law, but one has to wonder how you are supposed to get to the check in counter to declare a firearm if you cannot bring it into the airport. I have asked the airport police about this and they just smile and walk away.

I wouldn't worry about the Indianapolis airport. I have flown through there before with no problems. It's Indiana, they have some of the absolute best carry laws in the country, and as a % of the popular one of the most heavy armed/carry licensed citizen bodies.

Once I even armed myself in the bathroom. I know several people heard that slide hit home. Nobody seemed bothered whatsoever. Guess I got lucky and they were mostly locals. :D











If you have other or more specific questions, ask. I have checked a firearm (handgun always) more times than I can count, at these airports: (some many times)

Chicago O'hare
Chicago Midway
Līhuʻe (Kauai, Hawaii)
Indianapolis
Atlanta
Milwaukee
Denver
Idaho Falls
Orlando
Las Vegas

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