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Who has flown with a handgun?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Inebriated, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    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?

  2. Sapper771

    Sapper771 Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. psyopspec

    psyopspec Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    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?
  5. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. EchoZebra

    EchoZebra Member

    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".
  9. TIMC

    TIMC Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. Hurryin' Hoosier

    Hurryin' Hoosier Well-Known Member

    I've made several flights with a handgun - and an M16. ;)
  11. cluck

    cluck Well-Known Member

    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!;)
  12. Dr. Sandman

    Dr. Sandman Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. TarDevil

    TarDevil Well-Known Member

    Done this many times. Lots of good advice already, it's a piece of cake.
  14. Capybara

    Capybara Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. Matthew Temkin

    Matthew Temkin Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. 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:
  17. PavePusher

    PavePusher Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. MattShlock

    MattShlock Well-Known Member

    Often. Declare at check in counter. Case that tethers to internal frame of suitcase is highly recommended. Big liberal city cops may be called in and harass you. They are a joke. Leave an extra hour or two transitting those towns if you personally have to re-check luggage.
  19. cluck

    cluck Well-Known Member

    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!
  20. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    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.

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