Recent Airport Experience...


March 22, 2004, 03:30 PM
I haven't seen much posted lately about our "airport experiences" so I thought I'd relate my most recent one for any of you who might be interested.

It seems the reports I have read up to this point have been pretty accurate.

Anyway, I flew to Louisville (SDF) to New Orleans (MSY) and back about a week ago. Here is how it went.

Louisville Check In:

Logistar: I'd like to declare a firearm in this case, Sir.
Delta : You have one? (Confirming I only wanted to check one.)

Logistar: Yes Sir. I have 1 box of factory ammo in the other case.
Delta: Please sign this (orange) tag declaring that the firearm is unloaded.

(He has me open the case and casually looks inside and has me lock everything up. He placed the orange tag INSIDE the larger case. My handgun was in it's "factory" plastic case and locked with a padlock.)

Logistar: Shall I lock both cases?
Delta: Yes. That would be fine.

Delta: Sir, (after checking bags) would you please stand here while your bags are screened. Please don't leave until the screener tells you that everything is OK.

Logistar: Yes Sir, thank you Sir.

(Screener puts bags through X-RAY... then walks toward me and says "Everything's fine. You may go now.")

Nooooo Problems whatsoever! That's about to change though.

Return trip - New Orleans airport (MSY)

Logistar: I'd like to declare a firearm in this case, Sir.
Delta: OK. Set your bag up here.

Logistar: (Feeling uneasy) Sir, I NEED to declare a firearm.
Delta: OK (but they appeared to be about to place my bag as is on the conveyor! :what: )

Logistar: Sir, I will need a TAG for this case......I'm checking a firearm.
Delta: Oh, I'm sorry... got one right here (hands me white ID tag).. just fill this out and we'll place it on your bag.

Logistar: No, I don't need an ID tag... already have those... I need an

(Before I could finish my sentence...)

Delta: "Yes, you do." - and he carries off my bag (firearm inside) toward the conveyor!:what: :what:

Logistar: (YELLING at this point) SIR! Return that bag to me IMMEDIATELY!! SIR! I demand that you return that bag to me immediately!

Lots of people now looking.:banghead:

Delta: (Kinda angry now) What seems to be the problem? (And he is joined by someone with a nice suit on - can't remember the insignia.) Now the NEW guy asks what is going on.

Logistar: I have told this gentleman 3 times that I want to declare a firearm in this piece of checked luggage but he won't give me the orange tag to fill out.

Original Delta guy (very loud) OH!!!!! YOU'VE GOT A GUN IN THERE!
Logistar: Yes, I have a gun in here and I am trying to avoid becoming a criminal but you're making things kinda difficult here. (Trying my best to smile.)

By now I hear the words... "That man has a gun" or "He's got a gun." from all over behind me.

The "New guy" walks a short distance with the original guy and they come back with a tag, take a peek at the weapon and then I lock it up and it's on it's way.

Of course I am asked to wait for screening. The "screener" asks for my keys.

Logistar: I would be happy to unlock and show you anything you'd like.
Screener: No, I just need your keys. You stay there.

I gave her the keys. She proceeded to struggle finding the right keys for the locks... she had trouble getting them open. She took all the foam out of the case except the top which was glued on. (She tryed though!)

She "appeared" to lift the gun out of the case to look under it (although it was difficult to actually see that). A man walked over to her and I could see her pointing to something inside the case (the top of the case obscured my view) and the man clearly said "magazine". I HAVE to think she was asking him what that thing was packed NEXT to my semi-auto :scrutiny: FINALLY she managed to get everything locked back, put it on the conveyor, walked over held out my keys and said NOTHING as I said, Thank you ma'am.

I guess that wasn't too bad. Like people say, the experience seems to vary.


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March 22, 2004, 03:39 PM
i thought i read (on the errornet) that TSA regulations state the person who declares a firearm is NOT to allow ANYONE to have the keys that unlock, or the combinations to unlock the case the firearm is stored in.

wouldnt that include tsa employees?

Mr. Mysterious
March 22, 2004, 03:41 PM
That return trip seems pretty scary. Is LA a firearms unfriendly state that doesn't see much in the way of guns?

March 22, 2004, 04:13 PM
Hardly a breeze on the return trip!!! Tho I guess (being cynical) it coulda been worse!

Does seem a pity that some personel are apparently so undertrained in the less frequent proceedures. Your outbound was just great ... as it should be.

March 22, 2004, 04:25 PM
Are these regs posted anywhere? I have been looking on the American Airlines page and waiting on hold too long.

Thanks for your story. I don't know if its worth taking my firearm on my next flight to FL or not.

March 22, 2004, 04:50 PM
Your outbound expierence sounds allot like mine when my wife and I went to Vegas. Very easy no problems. I am sure someday that will change. It seems like you have about a 1 in 10 chance of getting hassled.

March 22, 2004, 04:59 PM
Louisville (SDF) was VERY nice and appeared knowledgeable. New Orleans (MSY) seemed in a hurry and didn't want to be bothered. After the "shouting"was done.... the screener seemed to be ..... well... rude. (Can't think of any other words to describe it.)

I was very "nice" and pleasant at all times. (We need to project that image of course.) The only exception was when I had to raise my voice to keep him from putting the gun case on the conveyor belt. I was nice then too but it is hard to YELL "nicely".

They would not let me be "right there" with them. I had to stay behind the counter. Since the lid was up, I am not sure if they actually handled the firearm or not.

You know... I wonder if I should have given them my keys.... I assumed that when the regs said to retain the keys that letting them "borrow them" while I stood and waited was OK. Hmmmmm... I am gonna go back and read them again.

Rickstir, don't let my story discourage you. When I ran into trouble it didn't take long for that guy in the suit to show up and get everything straightened out in a hurry. If you feel like there is a problem (which I clearly had), don't wait too long to ask for a supervisor (like I didn't).

My fear was that if that bag made it to the screener, the guy who checked my bag may have denied that I declared it at all. Not sure, but I could have been in trouble. Be prepared. Don't break the law (or let anyone else break the law!) and you'll be fine.

March 22, 2004, 05:15 PM
All checked baggage is subject to inspection. If during the inspection process it is necessary to open the container, air carriers are required to locate the passenger and the passenger must unlock the container for further inspection. The firearm may not be transported if the passenger can not be located to unlock the container. If you are traveling with a firearm, pay close attention to airport pages and announcements. If requested, provide the cooperation necessary to inspect your firearm.
Guess I screwed up, huh. Looks like the PASSENGER must unlock the container.

TSA regs can be found at

Rickstir, American Airlines data (what I could find) is at

March 22, 2004, 06:30 PM
Thanks for the link to the regs. I'll save them for future reference.

Standing Wolf
March 22, 2004, 06:56 PM
Saddam Hussein is in custody. Norman Mineta, a representative of the Democratic (sic) party, isn't.

March 22, 2004, 07:04 PM
Good for you for INSISTING they follow the tagging rules - you're very likely right, if a problem had been detected the employee would have "remembered" doing everything right.

And I also think it's a good idea to be a stickler about anyone handling your weapon or case out of your sight - there's some interesting discussion of the risks in John Ross' book.

March 22, 2004, 07:30 PM
Logistar i would contact Delta (corporate) and infrom them of this incident. i would also inform the highest ranking Delta personal in Louisiana as well as TSA and inform them that procedures are not being followed propperly.

make sure to give the folks in Louisville praise as well. it will only help others to not have the problem that you did.

glad everything turned out ok.

March 22, 2004, 07:50 PM
Mr. Mysterious

LA is a very gun friendly state. But New Orleans is not like the rest of the state so to speak. I lived there most of my life, and there are plenty of people there that are gun friendly, but they probably don't work at the airport. If you ever go to the airport, just look around at the TSA people, and you'll know what I mean. The city is pretty much a bastion of "liberal" aka Dem. thoughts. It can still be a really cool place to visit.

March 22, 2004, 07:52 PM
Spacemanspiff, I think you are right! ;) - Especially after looking back at the regs!

I want to thank all of you for the replies! I wasn't sure if you guys would be that interested in my experience or not.

Reading others' experiences flying REALLY helped me. I just wanted everyone to know what happened to me so you can be prepared IF something like this happens to you.

Next time... they don't get my keys. I will pull out the regs from the outside panel of my suitcase and stand my ground.

Next time I fly..... I might even take 2 handguns!

BTW - According to TSA and Delta'a OWN website, they both say that the ammo can be in the same container as the firearm (not loaded though). A Delta representative told me in person that Delta requires them to be in separate checked bags.

Even though I hate to have to check 2 bags (and it might not even be necessary), I will probably keep doing it that way just to avoid any hassle.


March 22, 2004, 08:49 PM
Your New Orleans experience is not unusual as far as TSA gun check goes.

San Jose ,CA (SJC) has you give the gun case opened and keys to Airline baggage person who disappears with case to TSA, out of my sight. They bring the keys back a few minutes later. I've written to TSA and the Airline (some where in the archives here) about it. It's their sop and I've been in and out of their many many times with my gun(s). Now Portland (PDX) is cool. TSA there is way cool....

March 22, 2004, 10:59 PM
Now Portland (PDX) is cool. TSA there is way cool....

Hrm. The last time I flew (and at the current state of the air transport system/airlines/TSA it will probably be the last time I flew), the TSA agents at PDX had a minor freakout on the level of what Logistar described when I checked my luggage w/ firearms.

Blue Jays
March 23, 2004, 12:16 AM
Good Evening All-

Logistar, thanks for the narrative...

After reading your story, it almost makes sense to format the TSA rules into a document with easy-to-follow, bulletpointed pages. One could then take the airline ticketing employee through each "step" to ensure the firearms remain safe and secured until you reach your destination...What a nightmare it would be for the airline to lose a prized sidearm.

Depending on where I was landing, I might be tempted to overnight ship the pistols to myself at the hotel where I would be staying. If traveling to a Detroit-like destination, one may wish to have their PDW readied in the airport parking lot!

Excellent post. Thanks again for sharing.

~ Blue Jays ~

March 23, 2004, 02:08 AM
For the record, TSA employees are NOT supposed to touch the firearm, not even to move it and look under it. Cases are checked by manually inspecting the foam and casing around it. Any inspection is supposed to be done by the airline, but they almost never do. In the early days, some TSA "Airport Ninjas" would rack the slide, pull the trigger, etc. Aside from being morons, there were some items damaged-like a $10,000.00+ trap gun.

A lot of TSA inspectors have military or LEO experience, and will gladly discuss firearms with you. Some of them even know what they're talking about! Inspecting a "kewl" firearm is much better than running gloved fingers through Granny's underwear.

March 23, 2004, 06:58 AM
Norman Mineta, a representative of the Democratic (sic) party, isn't.

Appointed to his new job by which Democratic president, again? I can't remember, help me out. :uhoh:

March 23, 2004, 07:31 AM
I'll second what Blue Jays said-not that I've ever travelled with my guns-but if/when I do. Print up both the TSA and airline rules for firearms in checked baggage and keep them in my pocket so I can "guide" the necessary screeners through the process.

April 9, 2004, 01:48 AM
Phoenix, or Ft. Lauderdale recently? How'd it go with your guns?

April 9, 2004, 03:19 AM
I fly 1-3 times a year with a glock. About 70% of the time everything is A-ok. This is in Kali BTW. More often than not, the agent forgets to "check" the weapon in anyway whatsoever, or inspect ammo. They usually just stand there all scared looking because they have never seen a black gun in the ownership of a 20 something surfer guy before.

There is some new procedure I noticed over Xmas.....You now take your bag after check in (in San Diego at least) to an initial inspection contraption that blasts red lights from your residue powder being detected. Then two knuckleheads stare at each other for a few minutes dumbfounded until they figure out what is happening.

YOU MUST NOT LEAVE FOR YOUR GATE UNTIL THIS IDIOTIC CEREMONY IS COMPLETE! Be there to assure them they are doing ok and to see your bag is not blown up by the bomb squad.

I also seem to get pulled out for extra security attention about 4/5's of the time after that.

April 9, 2004, 07:52 AM
More often than not, the agent forgets to "check" the weapon in anyway

Don't let them "forget" - if there's a problem, they're likely to claim that you never declared it. You HAVE to make them follow the rules.

April 9, 2004, 01:57 PM
Just got back from Vegas today, I flew out of BWI on Sunday. No problems with the 3 shotguns I took. I did have a question regarding my Surefire M3 as to how many batteries it held, but the L4 got by with out a second glance. That part occrured in Vegas.


April 9, 2004, 02:44 PM
I'm retired so many cannot make this choice but for me they can keep there
seats and I will keep my money.:cuss:

April 9, 2004, 02:59 PM
A recent WSJ article suggested that ALL the major carriers are headed towards bankruptcy. I can't say that this is entirely their fault, but will anyone in Washington admit that all the petty harrassment of travellers might have any part in this trend?? Not likely.

April 9, 2004, 04:55 PM
I've cut my flying down to a minimum "only when I absolutely have to" kind of situation.

It's just plain -stupid- to have to spend 2-3 hours at the airport to make a 2 hour flight.

The added hassle, I mean, security has built up a lot of spite towards the airlines in me and a large part of wouldn't mind seeing them go out of business.

I'm also tired of seeing the airlines have the FAA -FORCE- them via regulation to do things that are in their petty interests anyway like reducing the carry-on luggage amounts, etc.

They're forgetting that I really -don't- have to fly everywhere.

April 9, 2004, 07:07 PM

If it's any consolation, I also think this extra security is Bull:cuss: as well, and I work for the airlines. Most of us in the business saw what what happening with the new Federal regs and shook our heads. It's all show to make the government look like it's doing something. And yes, it was fedgov who made the regs about carryon limits. We'd just as soon you carried whatever you wanted onto the airplane, or gate-checked it. But no, we get the brunt of both ends of it.

April 10, 2004, 02:02 PM
I fly so much that the counter personel pull out the orange tag when they see me approaching the ticket counter to check in in AUS and OKC. They don't even ask me to use the self-check-in kiosk anymore. It is much less a hassle at the airports with the cat scan machines in front of the ticket counters. The hand swabbing and poking, as done at MSY, is a pain, but at least I am there to supervise. When the bags disappear into the bowels of the airport for the check is where I get concerned.

It is okay to surrender the keys to the case PROVIDED that you are present while they are being used. If you can see what is going on then you are still in control of what is happening to the firearms that you are responsible for.

I usually only travel with one suitcase. Fortunately the one time that I ran into an idiot TSA screener, Evansville, In (EVV), was when I had two and he had me transfer the ammo to the second suitcase. It is not a federal requirement, nor is it on the airlines that I fly. I have not been on a Delta plane in over 20 years.

April 10, 2004, 02:04 PM
That post is mine, someone else was signed in on my computer.

April 10, 2004, 03:48 PM
I refuse to fly. i have many reasons.

1. a car crash at 70 mph can be survived a plane crash at 500 cannot
2. I'm driving the car and am sober, is the pilot up front a lush?
3. cockpits are computerized and i have seen how well skilled pilots are with computers
4. when i blow a tire on my van (and i have) i can pull off the road, what do i do when the rudder flys off the plane?
5. i can drive around with any gun i want but i can't even get onto a plane with nail clippers
6. i can drive alone or with a freind, on a plane If i'm luckey i'll get to sit next to someone quiet at worst i'm jonny taliban's 1st hostage
7. i get into my van and go, at the airport i have some idiot with 50 iq points less than me waving wand around who do think has better security?

April 10, 2004, 10:00 PM
"A recent WSJ article suggested that ALL the major carriers are headed towards bankruptcy."

After 100 years of flight the US airlines can't design a uniform, workable procedure for dealing with firearms in checked baggage. TSA, one unified government agency, can't design a uniform, workable procedure either. No wonder the private companies are headed for bankruptcy and the government agency can't provide any real security.

Oleg Volk
April 11, 2004, 04:03 AM
I think that people here don't show enough grattitude for the services kindly rendered to them by the Department of Love:fire:
Higher-resolution image (

April 11, 2004, 04:38 AM
Quote from Spacemanspiff," thought i read (on the errornet) that TSA regulations state the person who declares a firearm is NOT to allow ANYONE to have the keys that unlock, or the combinations to unlock the case the firearm is stored in.

wouldnt that include tsa employees?"

This is wrong I worked for the TSA for almost two years as a supervisor and I can verify that in our procedures that we take the keys to unlock the case. The reason for this is because once you checked you bag and declared your weapon and released control to the airline it is the airline/TSA bag from there. You are not allowed to touch your bag whatsoever even if it means to unlock your bag or gun case inside. If you decide that you do not want to give up the keys then we have a simple solution, break the locks off. Now don't get me wrong and think that I am taking sides I am just telling the rules. I got out of that crazy mans army full of *********s and people full of themselves.

April 11, 2004, 10:30 AM
By now I hear the words... "That man has a gun" or "He's got a gun." from all over behind me.

Off topic, but how is it that in a society where we see firearms constantly portrayed in movies and TV can the fact that there might be guns in real life set off a minor panic?:banghead:

I see it again and again. Personally, I think media hyping of crime has a lot to do with it, but Jeebus you would hope people would be more rational.

I wonder if Joe Average actually knows how fast CCW laws are sweeping the nation?

45 ACP
April 11, 2004, 01:34 PM
I've had various types of experiences when flying with my firearms in checked baggage. They're run the spectrum from the mundane to mass-panic ("Call airport security! He's got a GUN!!")

Anytime the "rules of the road" are being circumvented by an ignorant/lazy/uninformed/confused ticket agent, I suggest you politely but firmly say the following:

"Sir/Ma'am, please call your supervisor and a TSA representative immediately."

Let those in the know solve the problem for you. Arguing with the ignorant/lazy/uninformed/confused ticket agent is a waste of your time, of which you've already given up a substantial amount in order to comply with the various security regulations now in place (even if you were not checking a firearm!)

At a minimum, your situation will be dealt with in a swift and usually professional manner.

At best, the ignorant/lazy/uninformed/confused ticket agent will get a lesson in how to PROPERLY handle passengers checking firearms.

I know of at least 2 ticket agents who have been removed from their post and placed in "remedial training" as a direct result of how they handled my situation.

Before anyone jumps on me about being a bit over the top, I think being detained for 1.5 hours and missing my flight (remember my "mass-panic" spectrum description?) for attempting to LEGALLY check a firearm in baggage was a bit over the top as well....

April 11, 2004, 08:44 PM
Anytime the "rules of the road" are being circumvented by an ignorant/lazy/uninformed/confused ticket agent, I suggest you politely but firmly say the following:
"Sir/Ma'am, please call your supervisor and a TSA representative immediately."
I am usually a "nice guy" and try to be pretty easygoing but I think your advice (45 ACP) is right on target. The NEXT time I have any kind of problem checking my firearm I am not waiting. I am getting a supervisor (and probably TSA as well) immediately.

April 12, 2004, 12:25 AM
Don't count on TSA dealing with airlines. They have no control over what airlines allow/don't. In my case they were fine with me having 300rds of 9mm in checked bags. Actually he slipped in 50 more rds then Sun Country allowed. The guy who ran scanner looked at it and let it pass as well. (they knew the problem I was having) So half my ammo made it.
Most important thing is to NOT loose your cool.

April 12, 2004, 01:52 AM

Sun Country's demeaning treatment of gun owners (coupled with the most ignorant counter personnel in town) keeps me flying Northworst. At least the NWA supervisors do know the rules and procedures (including NWA's most recent "top secret" additions/modifications/exceptions).

April 13, 2004, 02:33 AM
Under 49CFR 1544.203 Part (f)(2)(iii)
The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the individual checking the baggage retains the key or combination.

The key may be surrendered to a TSA person IF the baggage is opened in the presence of the responsible party, the traveller. I have been through this with TSA many times, especially in Indianapolis, and the luggage is brought out of the secured area so that the bag may be opened under my direction. The combination will not be surrendered. To break the locks on a hardsided case would cause the firearm to be transported illegally and would subject the TSA personel to a federal violation. TSA is NOT permitted to violate any federal regs while in the performance of their duties any more than they are allowed to violate any other federal law, NOR are they authorized to approve you to violate any federal law. Is a TSA agent permitted to rob a bank? Are they authorized to allow you to rob a bank?

AZ Jeff
April 13, 2004, 02:24 PM
I had an experience recently where I got into a "disagreement " with the TSA and airline personnel in Phoenix while travelling with a firearm.

I arrived at the United terminal in plenty of time, and stated to the Ticket Agent that I had a firearm I wished to declare as part of my checked baggage. The agent then asked to see said firearm.

This immediately had me worried. I explained to here that the arm (a Makarov) was (1) diassembled (field stripped), (2) packed in it's own soft-sided case inside my hard sided lockable luggage, and (3) contained no ammunition. I also told her that, in the interest of avoiding a spectacle, I would show the arm to those interested in a location OTHER than the front desk at the airport terminal.

The agent dropped her first request, and then threw a curve ball, and said "it has to be in it's own hard sided lockable case". Fortunately, I was prepared, and I then pulled out a copy of United's "information for travellers with firearms", taken from their website.

United's policy explains that the firearm must be in a hard-sided lockable case, but that case need not be solely for the purposes of transporting the firearm. Thus, my hard sided luggage met United's (and the FAA's) requirements for transporting a firearm via commercial aviation.

Then the supervisor arrived, and explained to her that my method was, in fact, acceptable under United's rules. The supervisor now added a NEW twist, and stated that I MUST leave the suitcase unlocked so the TSA can "examine" it.

Now encountering this hurdle, I then pulled out 49CFR 1544.203 Part (f)(2)(iii), and told him that there was NO WAY I was letting that bag leave my sight unlocked, as that would put in the category of "criminal" to do so.

After several minutes of discussion, the supervising agent told me to complete my formal declaration and signing of the requisite "firearms declared" orange card, and he then let the bag go through locked. He DID however, instruct me to stay near the ticket counter until the TSA had "reviewed" the situation.

About 10 minutes later, I was paged to the United ticket counter. There I was confronted by a man in an Eisenhower jacket, but with no real signs of being part of the TSA (no badges, uniform, etc.). He acted like he had authority though--he was about as polite as a rattlesnake. He proceeded to demand my keys so that he could unlock and inspect my bag. I told him that the bag contained a declared firearm, and that it was locked in accordance with FAA regulations. I also told him, that while I would not give him the keys, I would be happy to accompany him to whereever he wanted to perform the inspection of my bag.

At this point, Mr. Personality told me that I had 4 choices:
1. give him the keys so he could unlock and inspect my bag
2. allow him to break into the bag (thereby creating a vioation of FAA regs.)
3. fly without my luggage
4. not fly, and have my bag returned.

Given all the wonderful options, and given that I needed to be on the flight due to a family emergency, I had no choice but to give him the keys.

When he returned about 10 minutes later, I asked him why a place was not set up to allow travellers such as myself to have such bags inspected in the owners presence, and thereby not violate FAA regs. His response: we don't have any room for such a location, and thus the FAA is allowing us to do it this way.

What a great consolation: one Fed. Gov't. agency is allowing another to break written rules/laws, and the poor citizen is stuck in the middle.

I sure feel safer now that the TSA is watching over us...........NOT!!!

April 13, 2004, 03:49 PM
I recently talked to a coworker of mine who is having the "David Nelson" problem with the TSA No Fly List -- his name isn't David Nelson, but same deal. (If you haven't heard about this, its a really big deal/hassle; read here ( for instance) He's not even traveling with firearms (recently, anyway) and is still getting major TSA hassle.

He has been advised (I shan't say by who but there is a class action lawsuit pending vs. TSA from what I gather :)) to do the following:

1. Always be nice and cooperate
2. Have printed copies of appropriate laws including the enforcing agency's logo (e.g. TSA rules on a document with TSA logo, FAA rules on a document with FAA logo, etc.) - -for example, printed websites ought to look official enough
3. Get everyone's name and title you talk to
4. If asked to do anything unreasonable (in our cases, illegal, if asked to turn over keys) get them to write down their request or sign a note saying they acknowledge that they are asking you to do whatever it is.

That is to say, you would have told "Mr. Personality" that you're OK giving him the keys as long as he puts in writing that he is requiring you to do it, and if you could have slipped in the fact that you showed him the regulation that indicates that's a violation of Federal law, before he signed or whatever, even better.

When you're back home or otherwise able, start contacting the appropriate agency from as close to the top as you can, informing everyone that you believe you were given an illegal order by one of their "agents."

If we all do this, we might actually stand a chance of getting things fixed a little.

April 13, 2004, 05:37 PM
What's the cite on the law/regulation on the airline allowing transport of a firearm, but that the tag must be IN the locked container?

AZ Jeff
April 13, 2004, 05:40 PM
It's in the section near the cite I listed

49CFR 1544.203 Part (f)(2)(iii),

I would look in 49CFR 1544.203 somewhere.

April 13, 2004, 06:27 PM
Title 18, Part I,Chapter 44, Sec. 922(e)

It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to deliver or cause to be delivered to any common or contract carrier for transportation or shipment in interstate or foreign commerce, to persons other than licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, licensed dealers, or licensed collectors, any package or other container in which there is any firearm or ammunition without written notice to the carrier that such firearm or ammunition is being transported or shipped; except that any passenger who owns or legally possesses a firearm or ammunition being transported aboard any common or contract carrier for movement with the passenger in interstate or foreign commerce may deliver said firearm or ammunition into the custody of the pilot, captain, conductor or operator of such common or contract carrier for the duration of the trip without violating any of the provisions of this chapter. No common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag, or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package, luggage, or other container that such package, luggage, or other container contains a firearm. (emphasis added)

rock jock
April 13, 2004, 06:54 PM
Off topic, but how is it that in a society where we see firearms constantly portrayed in movies and TV can the fact that there might be guns in real life set off a minor panic?
Why do you assume the crowd panicked? If I am at an airport check-in station and I hear somone yell "He's got a gun!", I am going into condition orange. At that point, I don't know if the "he" is a gun person declaring a firearm or a nut about to start random target practice. Seeing as how I will be completely disarmed at the time, my response is going to be even more cautious than normal. Also, folks in the back may have heard the ruckus but don't know what is going on and simply asked their neighbor in line out of curiousity.

April 13, 2004, 09:10 PM
OK, being a TSA screener at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, I feel I need to say the following:
We are required to screen firearms and cases through physical inspection. The regs state that we are not to touch the firearms, but we may "nudge" the firearms to the side to get a look underneath it. The regs further state that NO ONE should handle a firearm except for a Law Enforcement Officer. The reason we "rip" the padding out is so that we can do a thorough search. We could avoid having to remove the padding by using our fancy Explosives Trace Detection equipment, but gunpowder alarms said machine. Getting an alarm lengthens the screening process, so physical searches are used instead. Also, remember that the national TSA screening workforce has a highly diverse background. A large portion of the workforce previously had such careers as computer analysis, customer service, small business, private security, etc. A lot of these people are not familiar with firearms...also, a lot of these people are conservative - saying they are not gun people because they are liberal is BS. Another thing, no screeners have had training in firearms familiarization. Training at the TSA is barely adequate. (That makes you feel safe, doesn't it?!) If anyone has any other questions, I'll be here! Thanks!

April 13, 2004, 09:24 PM
Thanks for chiming in. I've got two questions off the top of my head...

(BTW, I'm not anti-TSA per se, I'm anti-stupid-government-policy ;) and it seems like some of the things the TSA do are kinda stupid -- I'm sure some are mandated, and others are just results of policies that weren't well thought out.)

1. Why would a screener ask for the keys to a locked piece of luggage containing a firearm when the owner could be asked to open it? Is that something you've seen happen, or do you usually see the passenger accompany the luggage for screening?

2. Is there a "no fly list" or not?

Thanks! :)

CZ 75 BD
April 13, 2004, 09:41 PM
Welcome to The High Road.

On a recent trip, the TSA screened my checked baggage and inspected my firearms. As one went through the bag, he called my name to the other who was manning the x-ray, who recorded my name in a notebook. What's up with that?

April 14, 2004, 01:47 AM
AZ Jeff, I ran into similar problems last year in Indinapolis. After quite a lengthy confrontation, over one hour, including 3 members of TSA (screener, supervisor, and manager), 2 Indy airport police, plus one US Air Marshall, my suitcase was brought out and opened in my presence and the policy at the Indy airport as been formally changed to bring them in compliance with federal statute. I will be flying to Phoenix a couple of times later this year for the Crossroads of the West Gun Shows. I guess I will allow myself a couple of extra hours to deal with Phoenix TSA.

April 14, 2004, 02:35 AM
Thanks Jeff. Perhaps we can educate the airports one at a time until the playing field is level.

I still can't understand why it should matter at all if we travel with a gun in our luggage or not. For years i flew with my guns. I do admit that I'd put the frames in one suitcase and the slides & barrels in another.

But then again I don't understand why we law-abiding folks can't just carry ours on the plane with us. Hells Bells I'd be in favor of a Common Carrier CCW. Where if you have a state CCW you could apply for a shall issue CCW for Planes & Trains & any other form of passenger transportation. I prefer taking the train anyway.

April 14, 2004, 10:32 AM
I'm happy to help...I'm anti-stupid-govt-policy too! (And there sure are a lot of stupid policies!)

1. The regs state that once a passenger has presented their item for screening, they may no longer touch said item again. Now, if the screener was concerned about customer service, they would allow you to open the case for the screener, but different airports do things differently. If I am screening a gun case, I let the passenger open it for me. The TSA was supposed to make screening consistent around the has a long way to go!

2. There is a "no fly" list, but I don't know anything about it.

Hope that helps!

CZ 75:

I'm not sure why they would record your information. I would imagine it is not for official purposes, but rather for local records. As I said above, different airports do things differently. The management at my airport LOVES extra (and unnecessary) paperwork. I'm sure it was the same thing at the airport you had the experience at.

Take care!

April 14, 2004, 03:03 PM
I´ve flown with all kinds of guns and had generally good reactions from the southwest airlines people. Except in miami. I was checking a long gun and I asked for 500 in extra insurance for my firearm (totalling 2500 dollars). She looked at me like I was from another planet. I opened the case after her manager instructed and I very politely showed her the fact that the bolt was removed and all ammo was stored in poly containers. Then she asked if these bullets were armor piercing or explosive or hollowpointed. Understanding she had no idea what she was talking about I said no (they were sierra match kings, which are HP). Then she derisively asked if my shirt was something gun related (it was an anshutz t-shirt), and I said yep. Then she asked why I was interested so fixated with guns, and I replied with both my hands shaking violently, "Because I´m a crazzzzzzy gun nut." That shut her up. The TSA guy over at the X-ray machine (also a gun nut) and I laughed over that one. (he recommended BLC-2 for 223 loads :) )


Mr. Mysterious
April 14, 2004, 03:20 PM
Then she asked why I was interested so fixated with guns, and I replied with both my hands shaking violently, "Because I´m a crazzzzzzy gun nut."

That is great!

April 16, 2004, 01:39 AM
...asked if my shirt was something gun related...
...asked why I was interested so fixated with guns...
I would have told her I was wearing the gun shirt because all of my Bacardi, Jim Beam and Budweiser shirts were dirty.

April 16, 2004, 02:36 AM
For those who have "gun problems" at airports: if your federal congresscritters are RKBA, then I'd write them a letter about it and politely ask if they can go over the law with the TSA.

April 16, 2004, 03:49 AM
A friend of mine, who was also an NRA Director at the time, went to LAX for a flight to several cities where he was to give firearms courses. He took with him fourteen handguns of various configuration.

When he got to LAX, he stood there and dutifully opened each case, showed by manipulation that each was unloaded and, after relocking each, the guy behind the counter took them and placed them behind the counter.

This was at the time when they required you to fill out an orange sticker that said FIREARM and it was pasted on the outside of the case. That case was then conveyed to the pilot who carried it in the cockpit.

The problem came when he went to security at his first destination and stated that he had fourteen firearms to be returned to him. Guy goes back to look.

First guy comes out with second guy and, after some questions, they go back.

First and second guy show up with a third guy who tells him that they can't find his firearms. They also tell him that the pilot on his flight denies ever coming in possession of them.

He makes some calls and gives his class the next day using borrowed firearms.

He makes his next flight but they still have no word on his firearms but assure him that they will catch up to him. He is in his hotel room when he gets a call from the LAPD. It is a Leiutenant who states that his firearms have been recovered. It seems that the idiot behind the counter didn't really know what to do with the firearms so he sent them down the conveyor with the rest of the baggage.

Now here is this guy at the other end of the conveyor who thinks the heavens have just opened up because here come fourteen clearly marked cases that say FIREARM on them so he starts pulling them off as fast as they come down and stashes them under the conveyor.

The problem for him is that another thief sees him stash them so he goes over and steals the stolen firearms from him. The first guy gets miffed and snitches off the second guy who in turn snitches off the first guy. By the time all is done, they have about ten people in custody and have broken up a major theft ring at LAX.

The firearms were recovered from the baggage area of a Lufthansa flight destined for Germany.

The LAPD tell him that they will hold the firearms in property until he gats back but he insists that he wants the airline to get them and bring them to him. The cops, being appreciative that they have gotten rid of a major crime ring, agree to this. He calls the airline and tells them his itenerary and that they need to get them to him post-haste.


Big mistake.

Big, big mistake.

As a director, he was also going to a director's meeting at the NRA. This was at the time that the NRA was still located in Washington, DC.

He is in his DC hotel room when he gets a knock at his door, and there stands a guy with a big box. :eek:

So here he is in DC with a big ol' box with fourteen handguns. :what:

He got on the phone and called a friend in VA and told him to "get the Hell over here and get these things out of here!" Before the friend got there, he opened each case to inspect the firearms. All were in perfect condition with the exception that they all had had the grips removed. He surmised that the cops were searching for drugs.

The rest of the trip went uneventfully.

April 16, 2004, 09:12 AM
that sorry...makes me think some people are too stupid to breath much less go through the motions of feeding themselves.


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