Who has flown with a handgun?


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Inebriated
February 3, 2013, 02:50 PM
So I'm going to be taking a trip from NC to AZ this spring, and I'm going to bring my carry gun with me. I've read TSA's rules, and the plethora of threads about how to do it, but I do want to ask two questions...

1, when do I declare that Box A has a firearm and meets TSA's guidelines, and Box B has ammunition, and also meets TSA's guidelines? I haven't flown since I was a kid, so I don't know how the process goes now.

2, what's been your experience? Good? Bad? A hassle?

Thanks!

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Sapper771
February 3, 2013, 03:26 PM
I have flown twice with a handgun. Both times round trip TN to FL (Knoxville to Tampa, Knoxville to Clearwater 2002-2004). I think I used Allegiant Air both times.

At that time, it was ok to keep the ammo and the pistol together in the same box, as long as it is in the magazine or in the original factory box, not in the gun. I used a pelican case with locks to make things simple. I told them at the ticket counter that I had a pistol in my baggage that I needed to declare.

I would advise you to have a copy of the airline's and the TSA's regulations regarding firearms. I had to learn the hard way by arguing with a ignorant TSA officer that was threatening to "slice open my baggage with a razor" and throw my a## in jail". So just make sure you have the regulations handy in case you run into "That" guy/girl. Thankfully a TSA agent arrived and explained to the Officer that he needed to go home and do his homework.

Make sure you read those regulations well and have them handy in the event your are challenged. Expect resistance. You would be amazed how many airport/security employees dont know the very regulations that guide them. Also make sure that the TSA and the airline both allow you to declare a firearm. There were a few that will not allow firearms on their aircraft.

I had the best experience with Clearwater Intl. Airport. I walked up to the counter, told the woman that I had a firearm to declare. She gave me the tag to fill out and called a TSA agent to the desk. The TSA agent took me to her office and inspected my pistol and the paperwork. She told me that everything looked good and that she would have my bags transported to the plane. She was extremely nice, didnt threaten me, and she seemed to be comfortable with firearms.

psyopspec
February 3, 2013, 03:33 PM
I've flown with guns dozens of times, and never run into that uneducated/ignorant employee who didn't know their own company's process. Print out the rules if you want, but if I ever ran into a problem I would just google the company's firearms policies on my phone.

For the declaration, I always just said I had an unloaded firearm in a lockbox to declare. The ammunition was in there too, visible to the ticketing agent.

Allow extra time. At most airports it will literally take less than a minute. At DEN, and possibly others, once you make the declaration, sign the card, drop it in, and get your baggage ticketed, you must then escort your bag to a TSA room in the middle of the airport where an agent physically inspects the case and verifies unloaded in front of you. The extra time comes from waiting on an employee to come over with a cart, walking to the inspection area, then waiting if there are other people in front of you. I've had it take an extra 20 minutes, due to waiting on the escort and having others in line when I got to the checkpoint.

Inebriated
February 3, 2013, 03:38 PM
Good info guys, thanks! So I just declare at the ticket counter. That's what I was thinking, but I didn't want to just announce it to everyone until it was the right person lol.

Now on their site, it says:
"Travelers must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition."

Does this mean I can just throw my ammo into the box it came in, and put that in the bag? Or do they want that to be somehow secured?

1911 guy
February 3, 2013, 03:52 PM
Yup, just declare it at the ticket counter. DO NOT allow them to place the :Unloaded Firearm" tag on the outside of your luggage. This is now against the law. It goes inside and has a small metal tab that shows up on X-ray as having been declared, inspected and unloaded.

Flown from CLE to PHX a lot. Had trouble exactly once. Not a bad track record.

Inebriated
February 3, 2013, 03:54 PM
I'll keep that in mind, thanks! Any information as to where I can get proof that that is proper procedure? I want to have all info necessary, in case I have to deal with the Hoplophobes.

1911 guy
February 3, 2013, 04:05 PM
Go to TSA homepage for federal regs. Go to airline homepage for any additional requirements they may have. Fed regs are a minimum standard, airliones may add their own requirements above that.

EchoZebra
February 3, 2013, 04:44 PM
It seems to me(and a hell alot of other people) that the problems encountered aren't usually the passengers at the airport, it is the TSA agents that had their ass beat in high school on a regular basis and have a "score to settle".

TIMC
February 3, 2013, 04:51 PM
I flew from TX to AZ with a handgun, no big deal just follow the rules and you will be just fine. You will find it is really nothing to them.

Hurryin' Hoosier
February 3, 2013, 05:45 PM
I've made several flights with a handgun - and an M16. ;)

cluck
February 3, 2013, 05:54 PM
Any TSA resistance will manifest in states that have proven to be gun un-friendly. I have travelled from Utah to North Carolina a number of times and have never had a problem. In contrast, my best friend went from Utah to North Carolina via NYC. His flight delay created a time period beyond 24 hrs. He spent a night in Queens jail, lost his HK USP .45, and spent $10,000 to get out. He followed ALL of the airline regulations. He was just unfamiliar with NY regulations.
One bonus I've noticed from traveling with a firearm, my bag always comes out to the carousel in the first few pieces! I also recommend buying a brand new package of self defense ammo and leave the magazines empty. Fly safe!;)

Dr. Sandman
February 3, 2013, 05:59 PM
I've flown with a handgun. At the time, it was OK to have gun and ammo in the same locked case. It seems to me that this policy varies from airline to airline. BE SURE TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK about the specific airline that you are flying and abide by their policy. There are certain people out there who will go on and on about following THE LAW and not a policy by a private company. That guy is likely to miss the first day of the hunting trip, or whatever, and to have problems at the airport. Probably not go to jail, but probably will muck things up for himself. If you have questions, call the 800 number that each airline has and ask.

I recall that it was really cool taking my guns on the plane! It did cost a few extra bucks, though.

TarDevil
February 3, 2013, 06:04 PM
Done this many times. Lots of good advice already, it's a piece of cake.

Capybara
February 3, 2013, 06:04 PM
I flew from Phoenix to Burbank in December with two handguns I bought in Arizona. Piece of cake. Went to the Southwest counter, told the ticket agent I had two firearms to check, they proceeded to give me my boarding pass, a small form to fill out and place in the gun case (used a Pelican case) then called a Southwest person who escorted me to a separate TSA screening area. The police office who was there (was not TSA, was a cop), checked the outside of the case with the explosives swab, then checked off on the tag. The Southwest employee then said I was done and hand carried the case off to the luggage belt where they load.

I arrived in Burbank, picked up my luggage, and went home. Easy as can be, although I didn't have ammo with me.

Matthew Temkin
February 3, 2013, 06:20 PM
Unless legal--and that means a N.Y.C. permit or a LEO-- do not fly with guns into NYC/N.J.
If you have a emergency stopover and have to stay overnight DO NOT claim your baggage.
Let it stay with the airline.
When you fly out from NYC the airline clerk will call over a Port Authority police officer to check both your weapon and your legal status.
Arrests have been made of the unwary, although sometimes they will just let you check the guns and allow you to leave with just a warning.

karateclarinet
February 3, 2013, 06:53 PM
I've only taken my handgun on one trip. Both legs of the trip (Houston to Tampa and back) were uneventful, and the airline (Southwest) employees didn't seem to care one bit whether or not I had a firearm. In Houston, they just took my bag at the luggage counter inside. In Tampa, they walked me to a separate screening area and checked my bag there. Once it was done, they told me I was good to go and to have a nice flight.

The only "issue" I ran into was in Tampa. I had already printed my boarding pass, so I went through the "Express" lane at the luggage check counter. The lady there said that I was supposed to go through the normal lane as they did not keep the firearm declaration forms at the express counter. But, she just walked over to the other counter, got the form and let me fill it out there anyway.

All in all, it was a pretty stress-free experience. Now, the hours worth of delays and the screaming children on the flight are another story...:banghead:

PavePusher
February 3, 2013, 06:54 PM
What to say at the check-in desk: "I need to declare a firearm in my checked baggage, please."

In NC, they should be familiar with this (and I can almost guarantee that your return leg from here in Arizona will be painless, very common here), and will go through the short process without any problems.

cluck
February 3, 2013, 08:12 PM
Unless legal--and that means a N.Y.C. permit or a LEO-- do not fly with guns into NYC/N.J.
If you have a emergency stopover and have to stay overnight DO NOT claim your baggage.
Let it stay with the airline.
When you fly out from NYC the airline clerk will call over a Port Authority police officer to check both your weapon and your legal status.
Arrests have been made of the unwary, although sometimes they will just let you check the guns and allow you to leave with just a warning.
That's exactly what happened to my friend! Thought he was in complete compliance, getting ready to board and was pulled aside by port authority. Moral of the story:
Know the laws of where you are traveling to!

Sam1911
February 3, 2013, 08:13 PM
Ditto to others. Declare at check-in counter. Be patient and have a smile for the folks. Not every one of them is familiar with how these things go.

I've had perfectly positive experiences except for having a bag with a pistol in it bumped to the next flight and having to wait 2 hours before leaving the airport (with my bag) at midnight on a 2 hour drive to my destination. But that's just the regular curse of travel.

cl4de6
February 3, 2013, 08:17 PM
Airlines have transported guns ever since there have been airlines.

One of the things I've always said is : "I am checking an UNLOADED firearm." Emphasis on unloaded.

sean326
February 3, 2013, 08:29 PM
If this works it should be a pic of my pelican case with 2 AR's, a PS90 and 3 pistols and about 500rds of ammo from my last trip to Gunsight from PA.

Really it's a piece of cake, just declare it at the ticket counter, have it in a nice travel box like a pelican, ammo in original ammo boxes.

The only two things that kinda made me nervous was having to open the case in front of the ticket counter and having the black guns get more than a few gasps from my fellow travelers. And having $8,000.00 worth of guns and optics come out on the regular carousel and go round and round till I grabbed it.

John3921
February 3, 2013, 10:24 PM
The case has to be locked and not openable by prying up on something like a corner.

The locks are supposed to be NON-TSA locks. You're the only person that is supposed to be able to lock / unlock them. When they escort you to the TSA table you're supposed to hand them the key, they unlock and inspect, and relock the case and return the key to you. This is another rule that even TSA isn't clear on.

It isn't a TSA req't , but it is a DOT requirement that ammo is limited to 5 kg (about 11 lbs). I've never heard of anyone being called on it - but it is the rule.

Also I've heard of people being hassled for ammo not being in factory boxes. Technically any box designed for ammo should be legal (like an MTM case for example) - but not everyone is clear on their rules. I know skeet shooters that have had partial boxes confiscated, and one airline that refused to allow empty hulls.

Ragnar Danneskjold
February 3, 2013, 10:25 PM
I've made several flights with a handgun - and an M16.

Haha same here, though an M4, not an M16. Somehow I don't think that's what the OP is talking about ;)

gearhead
February 3, 2013, 10:31 PM
I've flown out of Charlotte with a checked handgun. It's apparently uncommon enough there that the counter guy didn't respond at first when I informed him that I had a serialized item I needed to check. He had my bags on the conveyor before I was able to stop him and make him understand that he had to check them and do paperwork before they could leave his control. Luckily I got his attention and they were immediately retrieved.

dirtengineer
February 3, 2013, 10:34 PM
Ammo rules vary by carrier. Check with your airline. My experiences have been positive for the most part.

hueyville
February 3, 2013, 11:10 PM
Many.times, no hassle. Go to the Delta desk, drop my Delta Medallion Award Card they come.to attention and.say how can we help you sir? I sit my cases on the counter. Hand them pre filled out forms and they go ahead and get me a boarding pass while there. Back pre 9/11 I actually arrived at locations twice to realize had pistol in my carry on that had forgotten to remove. Bet those days are gone.

9mmepiphany
February 4, 2013, 12:20 AM
the counter guy didn't respond at first when I informed him that I had a serialized item I needed to check.
That usually won't work, you have to be a bit more obvious. I usually say, "I have a handgun in my luggage to check in"

I've flow all over the country with my handguns while teaching and it has been very smooth...only had on place that they needed me to open the case (FL)

I usually fly with Southwest and Continental and try not to fly through NY or DC airports

gearhead
February 4, 2013, 12:28 AM
That usually won't work, you have to be a bit more obvious. I usually say, "I have a handgun in my luggage to check in"

I've flow all over the country with my handguns while teaching and it has been very smooth...only had on place that they needed me to open the case (FL)

I usually fly with Southwest and Continental and try not to fly through NY or DC airports
Well... A serialized item isn't ALWAYS a handgun...

2ifbyC
February 4, 2013, 12:44 AM
I flew from Omaha, NE to Pittsburgh, PA to go deer hunting with my friends. I carried a Remington 7mm magnum in a rifle soft case along with a S&W Model 19 .357 Magnum packed inside. I carried the rifle/pistol and boarded the plane. The pilot zipped open the case & the .357 fell out. No one had checked the gun case prior to boarding. The pilot placed the gun case in the cockpit and I picked it upon landing.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the year was 1971; a trip down memory lane to let some of you know how different things were then.

armedandsafe
February 4, 2013, 01:45 AM
I climbed on a plane in Seattle, WA with 3 pistols in my coat pockets, a rifle in a soft case, a shotgun in a soft case and another rifle in a scabard as carry-on. Flew Alaska Airlines to Anchorage, caught a flight to Fairbanks and then changed airlines to Nome and then out to Granite Mountain. Of course this was in 1966. ;)

I checked in to American Airlines in San Diego and the counter lady said I'd have to check my Old Timer 1040T pocket knife through luggage. The only box she could find was a rifle box, so that little pocket knife went into it and it was all taped up for the trip to DC. :D That was in 1986.

Pops

MrCleanOK
February 4, 2013, 03:04 AM
With regards to ammunition packaging, it can go in the case with the firearm itself. To satisfy the packing requirements, the origainal factory packaging will usually work. Some factory boxes are flimsy enough that you want to wrap them in tape. It's not fun to hunt for 100 loose pistol catridiges inside a Pelican rifle case. Also, you can leave your ammo in the magazines as long as they are outside the gun. I put tape over the tops and that has always satisfied the counter rep that they are securely packaged.

Alaska444
February 4, 2013, 03:20 AM
I climbed on a plane in Seattle, WA with 3 pistols in my coat pockets, a rifle in a soft case, a shotgun in a soft case and another rifle in a scabard as carry-on. Flew Alaska Airlines to Anchorage, caught a flight to Fairbanks and then changed airlines to Nome and then out to Granite Mountain. Of course this was in 1966. ;)

I checked in to American Airlines in San Diego and the counter lady said I'd have to check my Old Timer 1040T pocket knife through luggage. The only box she could find was a rifle box, so that little pocket knife went into it and it was all taped up for the trip to DC. :D That was in 1986.

Pops
Interesting, I lived in Nome in 1966 and now I live in Coeur D Alene ID. Looked up Granite Mountain, looks like a bit of drive from Nome. Was that by plane, I don't remember roads going that far from Nome itself?

I bought a box of 38 shells for less than $10.00 in 1967 when I was only 9.

chris in va
February 4, 2013, 03:30 AM
I flew from Louisville to DFW and back last year.

Going out was easy, declare unloaded handgun in my Pelican case and it was sent through X-ray. No TSA agent showed up.

Coming back was different, they told me to wheel my bag to the TSA office around the corner. I stood there for ten minutes before realizing I had to "ahem" for someone to show up. She was terse...took my bag and ran it through a machine. She stood there looking at me and I said, "Do i need to take it back to the counter" and her answer was "no".

Now five years ago I flew to Huntsville AL. The counter guy thought I was LEO and handed me a form authorizing me to carry a loaded firearm on board. He got a bit flustered when I gently corrected him. TSA took over and used a wood wand to inspect my case. When I got back, my bag didn't come out on the carousel. 45 minutes go by and just as I was about to have a chat, I noticed my bag was stuffed in a corner. Inside was a TSA 'love letter' stating the contents of the bag were inspected.

TAKtical
February 4, 2013, 05:37 AM
It has been a non issue in my experience. When you check your bag, notify the person at the counter. They will want to see it, someone from TSA will want to see it, and it should only take about 5 extra minutes.

TarDevil
February 4, 2013, 09:09 AM
It isn't a TSA req't , but it is a DOT requirement that ammo is limited to 5 kg (about 11 lbs). I've never heard of anyone being called on it - but it is the rule.

I was asked about this coming out of DFW last Friday... first time it has happened to me.

I flew from Louisville to DFW and back last year.

Going out was easy, declare unloaded handgun in my Pelican case and it was sent through X-ray. No TSA agent showed up.

Coming back was different, they told me to wheel my bag to the TSA office around the corner. I stood there for ten minutes before realizing I had to "ahem" for someone to show up. She was terse...took my bag and ran it through a machine. She stood there looking at me and I said, "Do i need to take it back to the counter" and her answer was "no".

Now five years ago I flew to Huntsville AL. The counter guy thought I was LEO and handed me a form authorizing me to carry a loaded firearm on board. He got a bit flustered when I gently corrected him. TSA took over and used a wood wand to inspect my case. When I got back, my bag didn't come out on the carousel. 45 minutes go by and just as I was about to have a chat, I noticed my bag was stuffed in a corner. Inside was a TSA 'love letter' stating the contents of the bag were inspected.

DFW TSA always puts the notice in my bag while I watch them inspect the suitcase. Most of my trips to and from DFW have been quite pleasant with TSA, cheerfully asking me what kind of gun I have, some chit chat about their preferences. I have no doubt you will encounter the occasional aloof agent.

ball3006
February 4, 2013, 12:34 PM
It has been awhile since I have flown with a gun. I don't think you can carry loaded magazines. The ammo has to be in an original box or one designed for ammo.....chris3

cluck
February 4, 2013, 12:39 PM
If this works it should be a pic of my pelican case with 2 AR's, a PS90 and 3 pistols and about 500rds of ammo from my last trip to Gunsight from PA.

Really it's a piece of cake, just declare it at the ticket counter, have it in a nice travel box like a pelican, ammo in original ammo boxes.

The only two things that kinda made me nervous was having to open the case in front of the ticket counter and having the black guns get more than a few gasps from my fellow travelers. And having $8,000.00 worth of guns and optics come out on the regular carousel and go round and round till I grabbed it.
YEEE HAAW! That is a big box of fun!!!

NavyLCDR
February 4, 2013, 01:17 PM
You're the only person that is supposed to be able to lock / unlock them. When they escort you to the TSA table you're supposed to hand them the key, they unlock and inspect, and relock the case and return the key to you. This is another rule that even TSA isn't clear on.

It is also a rule that you are not clear on. You don't hand the key or combo over to them, that is against Federal regulations. If they want the case unlocked/opened then the passenger unlocks it, never giving the key/combo to anyone.

49 CFR 1540.111
http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=1f158d6bd5b34d3a4023d45e0e070636&rgn=div8&view=text&node=49:9.1.3.5.9.2.10.6&idno=49

§ 1540.111 Carriage of weapons, explosives, and incendiaries by individuals.

(i) The passenger declares to the aircraft operator, either orally or in writing, before checking the baggage, that the passenger has a firearm in his or her bag and that it is unloaded;

(ii) The firearm is unloaded;

(iii) The firearm is carried in a hard-sided container; and

(iv) The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the passenger retains the key or combination.


I don't think you can carry loaded magazines.

Airline dependent. Most airlines allow loaded magazines, if the magazines are in a pouch, or there is some other covering over the top of the magazine so there are no rounds exposed on top.

Drail
February 4, 2013, 01:28 PM
The best thing you can do is to print out the airline carrier's rules and carry them in your pocket. Fully expect that the airline employee at the ticket counter has never seen a gun before and has no idea what the company rules are and may pass out when they see a real gun. Seriously. They are supposed to check the gun to ensure it is unloaded BEFORE they have you sign the tag that claims it is unloaded but most of the time they don't even want to see the gun. Make sure they place the tag INSIDE the gun case and not on the outside of the luggage. When you step to counter and announce that you need to declare a firearm MAKE SURE they DO NOT ASSSUME that you are an LEO. They have done this to me several times and you will get to start all over again once you get them to understand that you are not an LEO. As far as the TSA goes, you have a much bigger problem - the TSA does not know their own rules either and generally just make them up on the spot. I believe the TSA may actually have a printed book with all of the rules in it but I do not believe anyone in the TSA has ever actually seen this book. But they will treat you like a criminal if you question anything they demand. Just keep smiling and do not lose your temper. These people can absolutely ruin your day if they don't like your attitude. As stated above, keep the key in your possession no matter what anyone else says. If they want to open the case make them come and find you. Air travel has become so stupid now that I will not ever fly again until the TSA is done away with. I actually used to enjoy flying before all this insanity started.

NavyLCDR
February 4, 2013, 02:14 PM
They are supposed to check the gun to ensure it is unloaded BEFORE they have you sign the tag that claims it is unloaded but most of the time they don't even want to see the gun. Make sure they place the tag INSIDE the gun case and not on the outside of the luggage.

1. There is no requirement for anyone to verify the gun is unloaded. Usually, TSA can see if the gun is unloaded on xray, especially if the slide is locked back in the case, or a cable is installed through the magazine well.

2. The best place for the declaration tag is OUTSIDE but near the gun case, inside the luggage containing the gun case. The declaration tag will show up on xray, and if TSA desires to verify that the declaration tag is signed by the passenger, they can open the outside luggage, without the passenger being present, and verify the tag is signed without disturbing the locked gun case. TSA locks should be used on the luggage containing the gun case locked with standard, non-TSA locks otherwise TSA will just cut the lock on the outer luggage and enclose the cut lock with their notice of inspection in your luggage.

John3921
February 4, 2013, 02:24 PM
This procedure has been my experience - and what folks I know who travel frequently experience:

Use a NON-TSA approved lock. While many will tell you to use a TSA approved lock, this is actually prohibited by 49CFR 1540.111, the regulation that governs firearm transportation. It should be noted that the TSA usually allows the use of TSA locks but in reality they are not legal as they are designed to be opened buy a TSA master key, which is expressly prohibited by the above regulation. The TSA will ask you to unlock the case or provide them a key (do not give them the combination if a combination lock is used), then they will visually inspect the packing of your gun, after which they will either have you re-lock your case or they will re-lock it and return your key. TSA agents are not trained or allowed to handle firearm, so no contact should me made in that manner. If an agent feels the firearm requires in-depth inspection, they must have a law enforcement officer come over to perform that function. If re-inspection is deemed necessary after the bag is checked, they will locate the owner and have them open the case again, so it is wise to remain in the area or on the aircraft after checking the firearm. Buy the best non-TSA locks you can find.

My limited experience has been that the TSA guys will not allow you to touch the case once it's in their hands. They want you present when they open the case and re-lock the case with your key. I didn't use the combo lock - just the key locks on my case. When we flew to a shoot in Phoenix the TSA guys had no problem touching/inspecting some rather expensive shotguns.

Edit: Navy - you are of course correct that you and you alone should have the key and you and you alone should open the case on TSA direction - I'm not sure TSA is consistent about it though!

ezkl2230
February 28, 2013, 08:22 PM
The case has to be locked and not openable by prying up on something like a corner.

The locks are supposed to be NON-TSA locks. You're the only person that is supposed to be able to lock / unlock them. When they escort you to the TSA table you're supposed to hand them the key, they unlock and inspect, and relock the case and return the key to you. This is another rule that even TSA isn't clear on.

It isn't a TSA req't , but it is a DOT requirement that ammo is limited to 5 kg (about 11 lbs). I've never heard of anyone being called on it - but it is the rule.

Also I've heard of people being hassled for ammo not being in factory boxes. Technically any box designed for ammo should be legal (like an MTM case for example) - but not everyone is clear on their rules. I know skeet shooters that have had partial boxes confiscated, and one airline that refused to allow empty hulls.
The TSA have changed their regs on this. Here is an excerpt from an email I received from the TSA information center last week:

Travelers may use any kind or type of lock for securing firearm cases, including TSA - recognized locks.

In fact there is at least one rifle case manufacturer that has begun providing TSA approved locks on their products (we carry it at Cabela's).

Having said that, the best practice is not using the TSA approved locks; use a lock for which only you have the key.

As for transporting ammo, TSA regs require that it either be in the original box (preferably securely taped shut) or in a case specifically designed to transport quantities of ammo (again, preferably securely taped shut). If there is any question, copies of these regs can be downloaded from the TSA web site and presented to airline employees and TSO's for clarification.

Written by a former TSO.

NavyLCDR
February 28, 2013, 08:38 PM
The TSA have changed their regs on this. Here is an excerpt from an email I received from the TSA information center last week:

Travelers may use any kind or type of lock for securing firearm cases, including TSA - recognized locks.

In fact there is at least one rifle case manufacturer that has begun providing TSA approved locks on their products (we carry it at Cabela's).

Having said that, the best practice is not using the TSA approved locks; use a lock for which only you have the key.

TSA may have changed their internal regulations, but Federal regulations contained in 49 CFR 1540.111 have NOT changed. I would choose to comply with Federal Regulations, rather than TSA internal regulations:
Current as of February 26, 2013:
http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=dbaee11bd2d1e86b1c57612e24459a94&rgn=div8&view=text&node=49:9.1.3.5.9.2.10.6&idno=49

§ 1540.111 Carriage of weapons, explosives, and incendiaries by individuals.
(c) In checked baggage. A passenger may not transport or offer for transport in checked baggage or in baggage carried in an inaccessible cargo hold under § 1562.23 of this chapter:

(1) Any loaded firearm(s).

(2) Any unloaded firearm(s) unless—

(i) The passenger declares to the aircraft operator, either orally or in writing, before checking the baggage, that the passenger has a firearm in his or her bag and that it is unloaded;

(ii) The firearm is unloaded;

(iii) The firearm is carried in a hard-sided container; and

(iv) The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the passenger retains the key or combination.

The Federal regulation requiring "only the passenger retains the key or combination" certainly does NOT mean "Travelers may use any kind or type of lock for securing firearm cases"

velojym
February 28, 2013, 08:42 PM
A few times... but I didn't have to check it or anything. :) It helps when you're the one flying the plane.

chili555
February 28, 2013, 08:59 PM
So I'm going to be taking a trip from NC to AZ this spring, and I'm going to bring my carry gun with me. As a matter of fact, I flew from CLT to PHX last September. I announced to the ticket agent, discretely, that I needed to declare a firearm. I was prepared with copies of everything I could find to print. I allowed an extra hour. The ticket agent said, roughly, "OK, fill out this form and sign it. Here, put this copy on top in your bag. Thanks." The whole thing took less than two minutes.

Upon my return, at PHX, the ticket agent escorted me and my bag to TSA and a nice lady there did essentially the same thing. Even with the trip to TSA, I doubt it delayed my trip more than ten minutes.

It was all pretty easy.

Double_J
February 28, 2013, 09:29 PM
just flew today. I went from Jacksonville international to Kansas city for a work training course. I went to the counter and told them I needed to declare an unloaded firearm. I showed them it was unloaded and filled out a tag that went inside the suitcase. the only thing that sucked was being told my original case was not good enough as it could be opened up a small crack. that meant I had to buy a case from the airline (generic pelican style) for $40. that was the high point of the entire flight, no tsa check or losr luggage. :-)

joeschmoe
February 28, 2013, 09:36 PM
I've had problems with the ticket agents making up rules, like requiring a second bag for ammo. She claimed it was not allowed in the same bag. I was only checking one bag.
Carry print outs of both the airlines rules and TSA rules. I've needed them twice.

Another time an agent told me to carry my bag to security and declare it there. TSA told me to carry my bag to the plane. I refused and I would not approach the metal detectors. I told them there was a declared firearm in that bag and I would not carry through or touch it on the other side of the metal detectors. They scolded the ticket agent for telling be to carry it to security. Apparently she was supposed to alert them I was coming with a firearm. Dumb procedure, IMO.

Miami airport makes you do everything twice (happened at least 4 times). First you declare it at the ticket counter. Take it to TSA security, they look at your paper work and x-ray it. Pass, they take the bags, then I go on into concourse. Then I get paged to go to a different TSA security desk to fill out the same paper work again, open the bag again and x-ray, again.
I have heard the same story from others about Miami.

They all act like this is a big hassle and your getting special treatment for being "allowed" to do this, but their lawyers know they have no choice. It is a right, and their refusal could destroy their claim to be a "common carrier". It dates back to stage coach laws called "contract of carriage". The terms for flight is still called that and still under the old laws. If they refuse you because of a firearm, you can sue them and they can lose their flight privileges under "contract for carriage".

ezkl2230
February 28, 2013, 10:15 PM
TSA may have changed their internal regulations, but Federal regulations contained in 49 CFR 1540.111 have NOT changed. I would choose to comply with Federal Regulations, rather than TSA internal regulations:
Current as of February 26, 2013:
http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=dbaee11bd2d1e86b1c57612e24459a94&rgn=div8&view=text&node=49:9.1.3.5.9.2.10.6&idno=49



The Federal regulation requiring "only the passenger retains the key or combination" certainly does NOT mean "Travelers may use any kind or type of lock for securing firearm cases"
Interesting. I sent an email back to the TSA to ask them why there is a discrepancy between the CFR and their regs. The CFR directive is what we used to tell passengers when I worked for the TSA, and now that I am working for an outfitter and many of our customers travel extensively, I want to be sure the information with which I provide them is accurate. I will be very interested to see what kind of a response I receive.

Ehtereon11B
February 28, 2013, 10:25 PM
Avoid flying with ammunition if you can. If not, follow the same guidelines for flying with a handgun. I have flown with handguns from Atlanta to Boston and back. But not ammo.

1: Declare at counter. Clearly state that it is unloaded. Have the case unlocked and unlatched because they will probably verify it. Some just throw it through Xray to see if its unloaded. Don't let ANYONE tell you that they need the key/combo to the case. Especially TSA. That is for you and you alone.

2: The case you use has to be hard sided, with at least 2 locks (combo or key), and cannot be "Flexed" with your hands. Non descript. No logos, stickers, names etc.

3. Place the gun case inside your checked luggage. Harder to loose between the counter and plane.

4: Depending on the airport, get there 2-3 hours early to get through the process of checking a firearm. I was able to fly out of a smaller airport on a connecting flight to Atlanta with firearms and only got their 45 minutes before my flight. Print out the TSA and/or airline procedures on firearms. Because they rarely know their own practices. Just in case.

Hurryin' Hoosier
February 28, 2013, 10:40 PM
Many of us have done a lot of flying while carrying various firearms. :uhoh:

WinThePennant
February 28, 2013, 10:40 PM
Here's what I do.

1 - Fly with a Pelican case - They are the best. Do NOT use TSA locks on the Pelican case.
2 - Have gun disassembled. Just remove the slide and have it separate from the gun. This is easy with the 'pick and pluck' foam that comes with Pelican cases. Having the gun disassembled will make it clear to even the biggest numbnuts that your gun is unloaded and harmless. Even when they scan it, numbnuts at the scanner will see that and will be almost 100% unlikely to bug you about your gun.
3 - Use a factory ammo box. I fly with a 25 count box of Hornady JHPs.
4 - Once the gun has been cleared, place it inside your normal suitcase and lock the normal suitcase with TSA approved locks.

When I checked my gun at RDU (Raleigh), I was told to walk it over to TSA. That struck me as odd since I was walking around with a gun and ammo. I thought for sure that they'd have a TSA agent come over to the counter.

Jnitti1014
February 28, 2013, 10:51 PM
Every time I fly, right on my hip. But I'm an 1811....

NavyLCDR
February 28, 2013, 10:58 PM
Interesting. I sent an email back to the TSA to ask them why there is a discrepancy between the CFR and their regs. The CFR directive is what we used to tell passengers when I worked for the TSA, and now that I am working for an outfitter and many of our customers travel extensively, I want to be sure the information with which I provide them is accurate. I will be very interested to see what kind of a response I receive.

Well...TSA did not say that standard, non-TSA locks were prohibited on the firearm case, so, personally, I would fail on the safe side and say no TSA locks.

joeschmoe
February 28, 2013, 11:04 PM
I've had TSA cut both TSA and non-TSA locks.

WinThePennant
February 28, 2013, 11:17 PM
I've had TSA cut both TSA and non-TSA locks.
Get some Abloy locks. They are supposed to call you before cutting off the locks. Get some Abloys, and they'll call you for the key. :)

joeschmoe
February 28, 2013, 11:26 PM
But why bother cutting a TSA lock when they have the key already? Nothing was taken, just cut the lock and replaced it with a zip tie.

I guess if they were bright, they wouldn't be working for TSA.

I just avoid flying now. I don't like paying for the privilege of being treated like cattle.

distra
February 28, 2013, 11:41 PM
I have flown a lot with my firearms in recent months. I've had nothing, but good experiences with every aspect of the travel. Get a good lockable case is and buy the ammo at your destination. Airlines limit the number of rounds you can take and it's just easier to buy it once you arrive at your destination. I bought a SKB pistol case that is superb! Also get the TSA approved locks as the TSA has a master key they can use to open and inspect if needed. I just go up to the ticket counter and declare "I'm flying with a firearm today" and the gate agent will get you a orange tag that you sign and they sign indication the firearm is unloaded. You lock that in your case with the firearm. Make sure you LOCK the case BEFORE they send it back to be screened. That's it, pretty simple.

USAF_Vet
February 28, 2013, 11:59 PM
I flew with an M-9 on my hip a number of times in the AF. The M-16A2 was usually in the cago compartment, though. :D

Never flown with a gun on commercial flights.

traderpats
March 1, 2013, 12:37 AM
I flew from Portland to Detroit then back. Flying out of PDX the TSA agent had me open the case and verified it was unloaded, etc. Had a box of ammo in the factory box (Styrofoam tray). All went back into my luggage and off it went.

Coming back in DTI I declared the gun. TSA guy swabbed the outside of the factory gun case and asked "Is it unloaded"? and that was it. Straight forward both times....

John3921
March 1, 2013, 01:08 AM
You are not supposed to use TSA locks on a gun case. The TSA rules say that only you can have the key to your case, so you can't use TSA locks. People do, and the TSA folks don't understand their own rules and let it happen.

Vector
March 1, 2013, 03:14 AM
Fine information. I have flown several dozen times with firearms ,including into the dreaded O'Hare of Chicago. No problems.

But my bravery does not extend to Newark,La Guardia and JFK. :eek:

Have a great trip. :)

I have heard horror stories about Newark, so I'd avoid it like the plague, and would be wary of any airport in NY/NJ.

I have also flown plenty of times out of the tri country area airports of south Florida with nary a problem. Out of MIA they do not make you go to a separate TSA location, they check the firearm right at the counter and it takes an extra 2 minutes tops.

As to ammo, I always have it in a separate box, not in the lockable case with your firearm, typically in the ammo box it came in.

rondog
March 1, 2013, 04:05 PM
I did once, unintentionally. Forgot a .22 revolver was in my camera bag. Went through two x-rays and one hand inspection, and nobody found it. I was going through the bag after I got home and found it, loaded, and nearly fainted on the spot. Luckiest day of my life.

Old Dog
March 1, 2013, 04:39 PM
Avoid flying with ammunition if you can.

WHY on earth would you say that? I fly several times a year, from Sea-Tac down to SoCal, out to the MidWest, down to Tucson, always WITH ammo for the two handguns I typically travel with (a semi-auto and a J-frame). I leave the ammo in unopened factory boxes and usually take 100-200 rounds ... So long as one complies with the TSA and specific airline regs, it's never a problem.

Airlines limit the number of rounds you can take and it's just easier to buy it once you arrive at your destination.Easier to buy it once you arrive? Really? These days? Even in the good ol' days, I didn't usually want to be driving around looking for the particular ammo I use -- some of us have limited time to spend doing this sort of thing on our travels, especially business travel -- and if buy ammo -- you're gonna be taking it back, right?

United Airlines, for example, allows carry of UP TO 11 POUNDS of ammunition in your checked baggage.

bhk
March 1, 2013, 06:22 PM
Somebody mentioned the 'dreaded Chicago' above. Any reason to really worry about this? I may be flying through (flights connect at O'hare) there soon. Certainly it can't be as bad as New York.

joeschmoe
March 1, 2013, 07:07 PM
Somebody mentioned the 'dreaded Chicago' above. Any reason to really worry about this? I may be flying through (flights connect at O'hare) there soon. Certainly it can't be as bad as New York.
Connections are not a problem, as long as you don't touch the bag in those cities. Your transit thru is legal as long as possession is legal in the destination. Some people have gotten into trouble when there is a delay and they collect their bags for an unplanned overnight in a location where such possession is illegal. If, for example, you get snowed in to Chicago/NYC and they tell you to collect your bags for an overnight stay. Simply refuse to accept the gun case and demand they hold it or send it ahead. Anywhere but in your possession. This is where insurance gives you peace of mind. Until you accept it, lawfully, it is their liability. If they insist on leaving on the carousel for someone to steal, that is not your problem. You cannot legally accept it there, so it is there liability if it is stolen. You would just write down the names of the people you dealt with and go to your hotel without the gun case. If they don't have it when you get to your destination, file a claim. Nothing else you can do. You cannot risk your Liberty.

Now everyone is pretty aware of these issues and we now know not to make the same mistakes others have paid dearly for. Yes, some people went to jail for these mistakes.

Ehtereon11B
March 1, 2013, 07:08 PM
WHY on earth would you say that? I fly several times a year, from Sea-Tac down to SoCal, out to the MidWest, down to Tucson, always WITH ammo for the two handguns I typically travel with (a semi-auto and a J-frame). I leave the ammo in unopened factory boxes and usually take 100-200 rounds ... So long as one complies with the TSA and specific airline regs, it's never a problem.

I haven't flown with ammo so could not offer advice. Just heard different stories about ammo being treated as "explosive" by some TSA employees. A friend of mine I served with works for TSA now and has shared how *bright* his fellow employees can be. So I advise flying without ammo whenever possible. But as I said if it can't be avoided and ammo prices being what they are, picking up ammo when you land is more of a hassle than bringing some on the flight.

Somebody mentioned the 'dreaded Chicago' above. Any reason to really worry about this? I may be flying through (flights connect at O'hare) there soon. Certainly it can't be as bad as New York.

Where your connecting flight shouldn't be a problem. I had connecting flights in DC and JFK airport when flying with firearms and didn't have any problems at those airports. The bags went from one bird to another with no issues.

joeschmoe
March 1, 2013, 07:28 PM
TSA/airlines have a legitimate concern that loose rounds rolling around in their cargo hold can pose a serious hazard. Especially since there may be oxygen or fuel near by. The rules are tailored to that end. Limited number of rounds, or weight, properly packed to prevent them from becoming loose rounds to find a whole in a bag.

I don't see any point in carrying a gun without ammo. It's just a club. Unless it has a bayonet, then its upgraded to a spear.

Averageman
March 1, 2013, 08:14 PM
Lots of greta advice here, but if I may..
Carry an extra set of locks inside your case.
If they get cut by TSA and you are legal they will put the extra lock on your case. "NOTE A note specifying this is be done inside your locked box is handy."
Always pack your locked pistol box inside your checked bag.
Never be surprised when they hand you a Checked long gun without an ID. Yes that happens.

Onward Allusion
March 1, 2013, 11:21 PM
Flying out of Chicago is ok. Just follow the rules reiterated here... The firearm's case must be completely lock-able - ie. most plastic cases that a gun comes with is not a good choice because it still can be pried open from one side even if locked on the other. Use a locking case that can accommodate dual locks.

Donut Destroyer
March 3, 2013, 02:44 AM
I'm an LEO and had an armed boarding pass getting onto one flight. The gate TSA agent didn't make me go through the mag, but did make me run my briefcase through the x-ray. She didn't know why, but said she just had to do it. Kind of wished my gun had been in the briefcase instead of on my hip just to see what she would have said....:confused:

Donut Destroyer
March 3, 2013, 04:48 AM
Thanks Johnny. You can't take everything too serious. Makes it more fun to join'em sometimes.

Donut Destroyer
March 3, 2013, 04:49 AM
:neener:

coloradokevin
March 3, 2013, 04:59 AM
I've flown out of Charlotte with a checked handgun. It's apparently uncommon enough there that the counter guy didn't respond at first when I informed him that I had a serialized item I needed to check. He had my bags on the conveyor before I was able to stop him and make him understand that he had to check them and do paperwork before they could leave his control. Luckily I got his attention and they were immediately retrieved.




I've flown a bunch of times with a gun checked in baggage. If you actually used the terminology "a serialized item" then it's really no wonder the ticketing agent had no idea what you were talking about. I walk up, tell them that I'm checking a handgun in whichever bag it is in, and tell them that it is stored according to regulations. They'll hand you the "unloaded firearms form" to sign, and then put you through whatever TSA song-and-dance they have at that particular airport.

The only place I've ever had an issue was at LaGuardia in NYC. DO NOT EVER fly through their with a checked gun in baggage unless you are an LEO who is covered under the nationwide CCW rule. I am a police officer, and I'm covered by that law, and I still had one heck of a time when I went through that airport (if you aren't an LEO they'll arrest you and charge you with a felony, apparently). NYC is not a part of free America.

smithwr3
March 3, 2013, 08:41 AM
I've flown at least a dozen of times with a handgun. Just make sure you declare it when you check in. They will give you an orange tag to fill out and place with the handgun. Just make sure the gun is unloaded and already packaged in a lockable case. I've also traveled with a submachine gun and a silencer. After I presented all of my paperwork (ATF Form 4, C&R license, etc.), I didn't have any problems. Being confident and knowledgeable of the law goes a long ways...

Ditto on the advice to have your ammo in an original box. I've carried up to 11 pounds a couple of times without any problems.

Now there was this one time that the airline agent gave me the form to carry my handgun in the cabin when I was flying home from Hawaii. After I explained that I wasn't law enforcement and merely just active duty military, the agent gave me the orange card so the handgun could go in my checked luggage...

bassdogs
March 3, 2013, 11:46 AM
Just read and follow the rules. It is surprisingly simple and easy. Have flown several times with both handguns and ammo and on over 50% of the times the check counter didn't even ask me to open the case. Only opened the suitcase to insert the disclosure card. PS No tsa locks on the gun case. Regs require that only you have the keys. I use tsa locks on the outer case just to keep it from popping open in handling. Have never, I repeat, never had a problem or issue. On one occasion flying out of Anchorage, my bag with the firearm case was sent over to a special TSA inspection room and I was ask to open the outer case but not the gun case. They found and confiscated a bic lighter but missed a spray can of [exposive] WD-40. Again the key to all of this is to understand the rules and follow them.

A suggestion that I was given by friends is NOT to fly with a firearm that I am really attached to. That heirloom or expensive item might be more of a target for thieves but more importantly you would feel really bad if it was lost.

WinThePennant
March 3, 2013, 12:53 PM
Speaking of TSA, I once flew with my range bag. I emptied it out (or so I thought), and was using it as a carry-on bag.

Upon landing in Cincinnati and unpacking in my hotel room, I discovered that I had 5 .45 Long Colt cartridges in a side pocket. I gave them away before flying back home.

What's crazy is that they confiscated my bottle of water, but overlooked the .45 LCs. :)

michaelbsc
March 3, 2013, 04:49 PM
Speaking of TSA, I once flew with my range bag. I emptied it out (or so I thought), and was using it as a carry-on bag.

Upon landing in Cincinnati and unpacking in my hotel room, I discovered that I had 5 .45 Long Colt cartridges in a side pocket. I gave them away before flying back home.

What's crazy is that they confiscated my bottle of water, but overlooked the .45 LCs. :)
TSA is extremely variable.

I packed a couple of hundred hand cast bullets in carry on once, and the gate agent wanted to let them through, but decided to see the supervisor anyway. The supervisor agreed that they were perfectly fine since they weren't complete cartridges. (What was I going to do? Throw them by hand? ) But they also warned me that if I wasn't flying through a military friendly airport they would probably be confiscated as "dangerous" contraband.

Old Dog
March 4, 2013, 12:06 AM
Just strikes me that some of you guys really, really overthink this whole process ...

joeschmoe
March 4, 2013, 12:26 AM
Just strikes me that some of you guys really, really overthink this whole process ...
Please explain that to the ticket and TSA agents who can't agree on their own procedures or randomly just make up new rules.

Old Dog
March 4, 2013, 12:32 AM
That's a cop-out. I fly to many, many airports within CONUS -- even -- gasp -- to the East Coast, and I've never had a significant delay (yes, occasionally one encounters the stupid or untrained employee, but tact, courtesy and knowledge of TSA AND specific airline regs will always prevail).

joeschmoe
March 4, 2013, 02:08 AM
That's a cop-out. I fly to many, many airports within CONUS -- even -- gasp -- to the East Coast, and I've never had a significant delay (yes, occasionally one encounters the stupid or untrained employee, but tact, courtesy and knowledge of TSA AND specific airline regs will always prevail).
Who said significant delay? Now you're saying you have had some issues? Did you over think it or are you just "coping-out"? I thought we were just giving advice on how to avoid problems.

joeschmoe
March 4, 2013, 02:19 AM
Old Dog, Joe is somewhat dismal on almost all issues,guns,foreign and domestic policy .I believe I've diagnosed his problem. :what:

A discreet PM should solve the matter. :cool:
??? Like what?

joeschmoe
March 4, 2013, 02:40 AM
TSA lost it. I hope it makes my connecting flight.

BarterOnly
March 4, 2013, 02:44 AM
I have flown with firearms on many occasions and never run into any hassles. I am an avid hunter and bring rifles and shotguns in locked cases all of the time. I also have my carry gun and have never had a hassle.

Thanks for the tips on NY/NJ regs!

Vector
March 4, 2013, 02:51 AM
Connections are not a problem, as long as you don't touch the bag in those cities. Your transit thru is legal as long as possession is legal in the destination. Some people have gotten into trouble when there is a delay and they collect their bags for an unplanned overnight in a location where such possession is illegal. If, for example, you get snowed in to Chicago/NYC and they tell you to collect your bags for an overnight stay. Simply refuse to accept the gun case and demand they hold it or send it ahead. Anywhere but in your possession. This is where insurance gives you peace of mind. Until you accept it, lawfully, it is their liability. If they insist on leaving on the carousel for someone to steal, that is not your problem. You cannot legally accept it there, so it is there liability if it is stolen. You would just write down the names of the people you dealt with and go to your hotel without the gun case. If they don't have it when you get to your destination, file a claim. Nothing else you can do. You cannot risk your Liberty.

Now everyone is pretty aware of these issues and we now know not to make the same mistakes others have paid dearly for. Yes, some people went to jail for these mistakes.

I agree with everything you said except the part I put in large print. Many people assume that there are uniform federal laws when it comes to legally checking bags on domestic flights in this country. In almost every case there is not a problem because of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, or FOPA.
The incidents that have occurred in NJ were unknown to me until recently, and I've traveled to all sorts of 2A unfriendly states like CA & HI without a problem. Yet NJ and possibly NY still have people arrested in the scenario you mentioned. This from the NRA;

Special Advisory for New York and New Jersey Airports: Despite federal law that protects travelers, authorities at JFK, La Guardia, Newark and Albany airports have been known to enforce state and local firearms laws against airline travelers who are merely passing through the jurisdiction. In some cases, even persons traveling in full compliance with federal law have been arrested or threatened with arrest. As noted above in the section entitled “Federal Law on the Transportation of Firearms,” FOPA’s protections have been substantially narrowed by court decisions, and persons traveling with firearms may want to avoid New York and New Jersey or make arrangements to ship their firearms to their destination, rather than bringing them through these jurisdictions.

http://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/articles/2010/guide-to-the-interstate-transportation.aspx


Don't forget that many gun owners do not get the NRA magazines, go to gun forums like THR, or would have heard of the troubles in NJ airports. Why do you think people still are being harassed and even arrested in NJ if it is common knowledge.

Just strikes me that some of you guys really, really overthink this whole process ...

Read above

`

Old Dog
March 4, 2013, 07:25 PM
Gee, thanks, Vector, for the great advice!
Read above
I remain astounded that so many can find an internet forum on which to ask basic questions but somehow cannot manage to find the websites of the TSA, commercial airlines, airports and state or municipal governments ...

Apart from erring into the fascist strongholds of New York City, Chicago or anywhere in New Jersey, travelling with firearms is a simple process that can easily be accomplished by anyone with a modicum of common sense. I stand by my comment: some of you really over-think this stuff.

Vector
March 4, 2013, 08:04 PM
Gee, thanks, Vector, for the great advice!

I remain astounded that so many can find an internet forum on which to ask basic questions but somehow cannot manage to find the websites of the TSA, commercial airlines, airports and state or municipal governments ...

Apart from erring into the fascist strongholds of New York City, Chicago or anywhere in New Jersey, travelling with firearms is a simple process that can easily be accomplished by anyone with a modicum of common sense. I stand by my comment: some of you really over-think this stuff.

Not to call you out, but you seem to have thanked me with sarcasm. I am not sure why as I've been reasoned in my post and contributions in this thread.
As a long time gun owner who travels with a firearm, I am relaying my own experiences and lack of knowledge in the NJ/NY example, as proof it can happen to anyone.

I would also note that while you are certainly entitled to think people should know better, acting in a condescending manner toward them on THR does everyone a disservice.
Sure they can take the time to research all those different sources, but I'd presume you do not object to them coming here for advice. After all, isn't that one of the main things THR is all about, education?
So I see no purpose in the manner in which you are approaching this issue.


`

Old Dog
March 4, 2013, 10:52 PM
Vector, sorry. I did let a bit of sarcasm slip, and for that, I apologize. It's simply that this whole issue (flying with guns) should be such an easily researched thing (after all, if you're gonna fly with oversize/overweight luggage, ship large/fragile/valuable items via air -- where do you go for answers? Yep, usually to the source ...) We beat this dead horse here so frequently, it gets dissected down to the molecules, we usually end up bashing TSA because they hire minimum wage workers and provide little training to do high-volume customer service tasks ... Then we segue into having to discuss the stupidity that is law in NYC/NJ/Chicago ...

Reviewing my posts, I can see that some would see me as coming across as condescending; truly, that was not my intent -- I really only want gun-owners to be responsible and take responsibility ... Yes, this forum should be here for advice, especially to new people, especially for those doing something for the first time (flying with guns), so again, I apologize for not providing more thought-out commentary (I took your comment "read above" as criticism).

bassdogs
March 5, 2013, 11:03 AM
Ol D - Here's the problem as I see it. I did all the research you suggested about flying with a firearm. Then I came to the forum to get some real life experiences and advice. I weighed it all together and then headed to the airport. As a result I have traveled without a hitch. In fact, the times I've checked a firearm, the overall check-in and security process has actually gone smoother than my other airport experiences.

gfanikf
March 5, 2013, 02:01 PM
Christopher Walken does....let's all decompress.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLUGBujl2-0

Vector
March 5, 2013, 04:41 PM
Old Dog,

I appreciate your tone and apology as it was sincere and genuinely reflective.

On one hand I fully understand your point about this being a common topic. However only us regulars feels that way, but it is a new subject to the more recent posters coming looking for advice.

Of course there is always differences depending on which airport you are flying out of, and even differences depending on which airlines you fly. To me Continental/United is the best domestic carrier for ease of checking firearms, with nary a TSA agent involvement. American is not bad either. Really none have had issues from my experience, but certain airports do request you go to a separate area to check to see that it is unloaded, sometimes with airline personnel, sometimes with TSA agents. I think that was the case in Charlotte with US Airways, but it only took a few extra minutes.
Regardless, as long as you leave yourself enough time to deal with lines to check your bag in, You should be ok. Just make sure you have a lockable hard case, and unloaded firearm with the ammo in a separate area, before your arrival. Announce you need to check a firearm, and the airline attendants will take care of the rest.

`

Ehtereon11B
March 6, 2013, 12:30 AM
A quick look at this website is proof that some people do not "overthink" how to properly transport a firearm. Which is why this thread has reached 5 pages.

As of Friday, TSA's gun tally sat at 1,527 — 1,295 of which were loaded — and this week’s count will likely bring the final tally just past 1,550 before the year ends.

http://www.nbcnews.com/travel/tsa-confiscates-record-number-guns-us-airports-2012-1C7753890

ezkl2230
March 31, 2013, 08:47 AM
The TSA finally got back with me. Sounds a little like double-talk to me, but here it is:

Thank you for your question about carriage of firearms in checked baggage. As you note, 49 CFR 1540.111 has several requirements, including the following:

(c) In checked baggage. A passenger may not transport or offer for transport in checked baggage or in baggage carried in an inaccessible cargo hold under §1562.23 of this chapter:

(1) Any loaded firearm(s).
(2) Any unloaded firearm(s) unless— *****
(iv) The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the passenger retains the key or combination.

You ask about the use of TSA-recognized locks, for which TSA has master keys. TSA does not intend for section 1540.111(c)(2)(iv) to mean that travelers may not use locks for which master keys exist. Indeed, for essentially all commonly-available key locks, master keys exist. Thus, travelers may use TSA- recognized locks.

As I said, the TSA has changed their policy and interpretation of 49 CFR; when I was with the TSA (several years ago) we told people transporting firearms in checked baggage that they could not use TSA approved locks on firearms cases. As a best practice, it probably still isn't a good idea to use a TSA approved lock, but here it is. The only other way to get an interpretation on 49 CFR 1540.111 would be to write to the DOJ or DOT and see if they interpret it differently.

NavyLCDR
March 31, 2013, 12:35 PM
The TSA finally got back with me. Sounds a little like double-talk to me, but here it is:

As I said, the TSA has changed their policy and interpretation of 49 CFR; when I was with the TSA (several years ago) we told people transporting firearms in checked baggage that they could not use TSA approved locks on firearms cases. As a best practice, it probably still isn't a good idea to use a TSA approved lock, but here it is. The only other way to get an interpretation on 49 CFR 1540.111 would be to write to the DOJ or DOT and see if they interpret it differently.

All that being said - if it is not REQUIRED to use a TSA lock on the gun case, why would you want to? What would be the advantage? Do you want the TSA to have the ability to open your gun case without you present?

Oops.... I just noticed you said the same thing in your post :-).

SharpsDressedMan
March 31, 2013, 06:24 PM
Back in the 70's, I remember flying United or Continental, etc, as a municipal police officer, and my CCW was stored in the cockpit (after checking with a stewardess upon boarding). They then discreetly called me up front to get it before disembarking. No one on the place was aware at all.

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