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Air travel with a firearm?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by ProtoformX, May 24, 2011.

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  1. ProtoformX

    ProtoformX Member

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    I've got a story, and a question.

    My friend had driven with a friend from CA to NY several years ago (he was helping her move there) and brought his carry weapon because he was not sure what kind of neighborhoods he was going to be driving through on the way there (Florida CCW, and he researched the individual state laws before the trip). The plan was the drive to NY, then fly back to CA.

    He was arrested in New York for declaring his unloaded, locked up firearm in his check in bag. They arrested him on the spot, and confiscated his firearm into evidence, never to be seen again. He was released (a few of us had to pool our cash to post bail for him), but they kept his firearm and never gave a clear reason for the arrest.

    He had called the airport, and the local police the night before, as well as asked a National Guardsman at the airport before he went to the check in counter to make sure he was following the right procedure. No party gave any idication that there would be any trouble.


    Now, onto my question.

    I am going on vacation. I will be away from home for three months. I want to bring one of my firearms to plink with at a local range... I have done extensive research, and cannot find any reason why I would be arrested, or why something bad would happen if I brought my firearm locked securely in a hard plastic case in my check-in bag, and declared it.

    My family and friends however are extremely nervous about this, and are more or less demanding that I not take it, largely due to the above story involving my friend.

    Where do I stand legally on this? What can I say or do to put everyones concerns at ease? And, what the deuce is up with New York? To this day nobody has any real idea why my friend was arrested, and his firearm confiscated.

    I am flying from CA to MA, and will be staying in CT if that matters.
     
  2. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    Not to sound rude, but none of the above should have been contacted by your friend in regards to his trip. If he was interested in the law regarding such a trip, he should have consulted the law (both federal and state) itself, or, failing that, a lawyer.

    People need to understand that police are NOT sources of accurate legal advice. This is not a bash against cops, but they have a very specific job description - being able to dispense legal advice is not part of it. Ditto for Natn'l Guard. I mean seriously - you wouldn't walk up to a soldier waiting for his bags at baggage claim and ask him what NY law says about calling in a noise complaint against your neighbor for having his stereo on at 2a.m., would you?

    Ditto with the airlines. All they're going to tell you is what their rules are, and how they relate to TSA regs.

    Sorry for the lecture, but it's a common mistake - and as you can see by your friend's adventure it can result in a huge hassle and expense.
     
  3. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    Your friend was arrested in NY because his possession of a handgun in New York without a New York permit was illegal in New York.

    You will probably be arrested in MA upon checking in at the airport in MA unless you meet MA state law:

    http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXX/Chapter140/Section131g

    If you were flying out of a free state on your return trip (about 45 of which come to mind immediately) you would have no issues whatsoever.

    And, I agree with Kingpin008, by the way. Don't ask LEO for legal advice.
     
  4. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    If your final stop is Ct why not just send the firearm you plan on taking and send it to a local FFL and do the reverse when you go home. You do not want to be caught with a firearm/oc/mace in Ma it is a felony and the local and state police take a dim veiw of anyone bring in firearms with out a LTC. and forget a non resident LTC. One of the requirments is to come to Ma to be interveiwed for the permit and on there schedule,not yours. Of the six new england states Ma is the worst as far as irearms ownership goes.
     
  5. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    For one thing... a CT FFL would violate Federal law by transferring any firearm to a California resident.
     
  6. N003k

    N003k Member

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    Also, in CT you need a state Pistol Permit to 'purchase' a handgun... Also believe theres restrictions on what one can DO with a handgun in the state without a permit.
     
  7. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    Navy LT I don't know Ct laws,but in his question he states that the firearm is his. Why would he have trouble picking up a firearm that is already his? If CT is a free state what is the problem?
     
  8. Jim NE

    Jim NE Member

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    It's kind of strange to think how much the world has changed. I had a friend who was an FBI agent in the New York office. This was in the late eighties/early 90's. He would sometimes try to impress young ladies on airliners by telling them he was with the FBI, and take out his I.D. and revolver to prove it.

    I'm not sure if FBI agents are still allowed to carry guns on planes or not, but I'm guessing the days of impressing girls on a plane by pulling out a gun are over. :)
     
  9. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    When an FFL receives a firearm, they must log that firearm into their bound book. When they dispose of that firearm, they must log that firearm out of their bound book. The receipt of the firearm by delivery by mail or common carrier would be considered an "other acquisition." The delivery of the firearm to the final recipient would be considered an "other disposition."

    http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/tex...iv8&view=text&node=27:3.0.1.2.3.8.1.6&idno=27

    49 CFR 478.125 (e):

    Since the firearm would have to be transferred by the FFL to the recipient on a form 4473, 18 USC 922 (b)(3) would apply, prohibiting the CT FFL from transferring ANY firearm to a California resident. A handgun is prohibited because of the same state rule. A long gun is prohibited because a CT FFL would have no way to comply with California's DROS requirement.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/718/usc_sec_18_00000922----000-.html

    18 USC 922 (b)(3):

    The only way for the CT FFL to dispose of the firearm received would be to transfer the firearm to another FFL, or to transfer the firearm to a recipient who could legally receive such firearm by completing the form 4473 and be in compliance with all the requirements of 18 USC 922.

    The only exception would be if the FFL was returning the firearm to the original owner which they received SOLELY for the purpose of repair or customization:

    http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/tex...:3.0.1.2.3;idno=27;cc=ecfr#27:3.0.1.2.3.8.1.4

    All of the above is Federal law and the FFL would risk losing his license by not complying.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  10. ProtoformX

    ProtoformX Member

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    Thanks for the insight, guys. Guess I'll leave my baby home... Better to spend less time at the range if it means spending no time in a MA jail cell.
     
  11. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    Its only necessary to use an FFL when transferring a firearm to another person, not yourself. You can legally ship a firearm across state lines to your friends house, addressed to yourself. To remain legal I think the package must remain unopened until you arrive to open it.


    From the ATF FAQS section:

    Q: May a nonlicensee ship firearms interstate for his or her use in hunting or other lawful activity?

    Yes. A person may ship a firearm to himself or herself in care of another person in the State where he or she intends to hunt or engage in any other lawful activity. The package should be addressed to the owner. Persons other than the owner should not open the package and take possession of the firearm.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  12. swinokur

    swinokur Member

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  13. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    In fact, if you were to mail a handgun to an FFL in another state, he CAN'T transfer it to you -- only residents of the state where he's located.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2011
  14. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    Very good point Sam! I forgot that.
     
  15. bikemutt
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    bikemutt Member

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    You should still be able to plink; just rent a range gun. Much less expensive than bail + lawyer :scrutiny:
     
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