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What is drill for flying out of Newark Liberty EWR with checked handgun?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by bushmaster1313, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. bushmaster1313

    bushmaster1313 Well-Known Member

    Assume a New Jersey resident with a legal handgun but no New Jersey CCW (of course) flying to a state that honors a non-resident permit from a state like Virginia.

    FOPA would cover from the home in New Jersey to the free state and back to the home in New Jersey, but how does the New Jersey resident check the handgun at the Newark EWR airport? What type of luggage does it need to be in? What about ammunition? I know the gun needs to be unloaded and in New Jersey no hollow point bullets.
  2. hmphargh

    hmphargh Well-Known Member

    I believe that FOPA applies to air travel as well. For air travel, you should check with your airline, but generally, the gun must be in a locked, hard sided container, inside your checked luggage, which does not need to be hard sided. Ammunition must be completely contained, must not be in the same hard sided container (including in the firearm), and must be in a rigid container, generally the original packaging will suffice, alternately, a lidded, plastic ammunition holder that has separate compartments for each cartridge will do as well.

    As for logistics, I would highly recommend contacting your airline ahead of time for any additional forms that they would like you to fill out. When you go into the airport to check your luggage (and handgun), I would recommend against saying something like "I have a gun", simply saying that you have something you need to declare and handing over the form is better. Finally, they may ask you to unlock the container and show them the gun. This is not strictly required and may or may not be legal, but for the ease of moving things forward, have the key on you and be prepared to show them. After you hand your luggage over, it will probably be escorted to be inspected by the TSA. I'm not very familiar with EWR, having only flown from there a few times, but I would suggest following your bag until it gets past the TSA checked luggage screeners, if you can.
  3. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    Some airlines have policies against ammo in the same case as the gun, but Federal regulations and most airlines allow for ammo in the same case.

    No airline that I know of will provide the unloaded firearms declaration tag in advance. You sign the form in front of the counter person at the luggage check-in counter.

    "I have an unloaded firearm in my checked baggage to declare" Then the counter person will give you the tag to sign which goes in the luggage near the firearms case.

    Additionally, for further information... it is against Federal regulations to use TSA locks on the firearm case, standard locks that only the owner retains the key/combo to. TSA locks have thousands of keys for them. The luggage containing the firearms case can be locked with a TSA lock if desired.
  4. bushmaster1313

    bushmaster1313 Well-Known Member

    Where are the Federal Regs?
  5. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    49 CFR 1540.111


    § 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.

    (d) Ammunition. This section does not prohibit the carriage of ammunition in checked baggage or in the same container as a firearm. Title 49 CFR part 175 provides additional requirements governing carriage of ammunition on aircraft.
  6. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Well-Known Member

    I have read FOPA and I didn't see anything in there about air travel. It describes transporting an unloaded gun in your car. From what I've read airline travel falls under much older rules called Contract of Carriage for Common Carriers. Dates back to ships, stage coaches and Rail Roads.

    Read the airline rules, TSA rules, print them out and have them with you. Be certain that possession of the firearm is legal in your destination (state/local law).
  7. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    Airline travel IS covered by FOPA:


    (3rd paragraph)
  8. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

    The legal risk in NJ isn't the airline travel itself, it's possession of the gun on the way to the airport.

    That guy who got nailed accepted his bag with the handgun in it on an unscheduled overnight stop, which the courts decided constituted possession of a handgun outside of the protection of FOPA, and Byzantine NJ gun law*.

    Seriously, just don't give your money or custom to such places. It only encourages them.

    Summary of Byzantine NJ gunlaw: you can't possess a gun unless one of a number of strictly interpreted exemptions can be shown in a court of law to apply to your specific case; the citizen acts at his own peril.
  9. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Well-Known Member

    Well, someone forgot to tell the transit police in NYC (JFK, LaGuardia) ... cause if you go though there with a unlicensed in NYC handgun, and they find out, (even if you were NOT suppose to be there, as in your flight is diverted), you are going to be arrested, charged, and have your handgun taken from you.
    And yes, IF you follow through with the case, hire the lawyers, travel back and forth from NYC several times, yadda yadda yadda you might well "win" your case ... but you'll be down somewhere in the mid five figures and still won't get your gun back.
    I understand EWR is not in NYC ... but if you are coming back to EWR and get diverted ... guess where you are going?
  10. mbogo

    mbogo Well-Known Member

    If you're a member of ANJRPC, you can contact Evan Nappen or Scott Bach for clarification. When I lived in NJ, both were willing to answer simple questions like this.

    Check with the airline as their rules determine the manner in which you can transport the gun and ammunition in checked baggage. As previously stated, tell them that you want to check an unloaded firearm in your baggage. You may or may not have to show the airline rep that it is unloaded; they are not to touch the gun.

    You will sign an 'unloaded firearm' declaration tag, which goes in the case holding your handgun (put handguns in a lockable box, with real padlocks, and a TSA lock on the suitcase holding the hadngun case).

    TSA usually wants to see that the tag is in the bag, which means that you cannot close the bag until they have seen it. The airline rep will walk you over to the TSA station, where you will show them the tag (do not handle the gun). They will then instruct you to close everything up and take the locked piece of luggage (you can ask them to put a 'TSA inspected' sticker on the bag; they may or may not do this, depending on the TS agent).

    As you know, NJ banned all firearms years ago. There are exceptions for possession in your home, at a range, while hunting, or while on your (non-stop) way to or from the range or hunting. Everything else is a gamble.

    You could always ship the handgun to yourself via common carrier.

  11. jaysouth

    jaysouth Well-Known Member

    Good luck on getting Fed Ex or UPS to allow you to ship a gun to yourself. It may be legal but it is against their tarriffs.
  12. mbogo

    mbogo Well-Known Member


    That is incorrect. I did it just that last month.

  13. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    It doesn't matter if you did it just last month. It's still against their tarrifs.

    FEDEX, click on Firearms:

    Nowhere above does it allow shipping to yourself, unless you happen to be an FFL.

    UPS (printed page 5):

    Again, nowhere is it allowed to ship a firearm to yourself by UPS.
  14. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Well-Known Member

    Doesn't the pilot have ultimate say over whether a firearm is permitted on board?

    I always wondered what you do with it at the last minute if he or she decides they don't want it on board?
  15. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    Sure. But the airline also operates under common carrier rules which state that basically they must move whatever is safely presented to them and paid for to move. So, a pilot who would refuse to have unloaded firearms on board in checked baggage which meets all the regulations for safe transportation would find themselves needed to start their own crop dusting business.
  16. TenDriver

    TenDriver Well-Known Member

    The flight crew will never know if it's in your checked baggage.

    IF you had to divert going into EWR, you're not likely going to divert to an NYC airport. About the only scenario I could see that happening is if you had an in flight emergency that required a hellaciously long runway. With a weather divert heading back in to EWR, you're likely going to ALB, ABE, MDT, SWF, BDL, etc. NYC airports are saturated and so close together you will almost never divert to one for weather. Too many alternatives close by.
  17. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Well-Known Member

    I have flown out of Newark many times with a checked handgun.

    Check with your airline (some don't allow transport of firearms I've been told and may have more restrictions on ammo than TSA). Check TSA website.

    You declare your firearm at the counter. They may ask to verify its unloaded and have you sign a card that goes in your luggage. You lock your bag. NO TSA LOCKS! You and your bag go to a TSA checkpoint and they check your bag by xray. 99.9% of the time thats it your bag is checked. TSA may want to look in your bag. IIRC on the TSA website they can ask for keys or combo and do this without you present but I've never had this happen. Never had Port Authority Police get involved in any capacity.
  18. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    Violation of the Code of Federal regulations which state that only the passenger retains the key/combination to the lock on the gun case.
  19. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Well-Known Member

    Travelers should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation.

    This is from TSA website. Do you have the CFR?
  20. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Well-Known Member

    I`d ask that question to the Airline of your choice.

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