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Flying with a firearm

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Alex45ACP, Feb 6, 2006.

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  1. Alex45ACP

    Alex45ACP Member

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    I'm wondering what kind of hoops you have to jump thru to check a firearm in your luggage. I'm flying from SWFL International to Charlotte International and the gun is a Browning Hi Power.

    Also, what would I have to do if I wanted to take an AR upper receiver?
     
  2. TrekkieFromHell

    TrekkieFromHell Member

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    It can't fly with ammo, and has to be unloaded and in a locked case. They will make sure its unloaded so you might want to leave it unlocked until after they check it. And an upper reciever should not be a problem as it is not considered a firearm. They may make you lock it up still, so bring a case that can fit both to be safe.

    EDIT: When you go in to check it, just remember to declare that its a firearm that you are checking. You know how sometimes if you don't let people know things right away they can get stupid about it.

    Left that off my first post, sorry. ;)
     
  3. migoi

    migoi Member

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    It's not really very hard...

    just have a bit of patience with the non-gun people you will be putting in charge of your gun-oriented life for a bit.

    First step...go to www.packing.org and follow the link on the left hand side of the page about "How to obey the law on commercial flights."

    Second step... print out the information for the airline you will be flying. Keep it in your carry on bag.

    Third step... arrive a bit early.

    It's not that big a deal to fly with firearms but each airline seems to have slightly different rules.

    As far as flying with ammo. On most airlines you can fly with up to 11 pounds of ammo...just not in the gun and for a lot of the airlines it must be in the original packaging, but it varies.

    The last time I flew, it was on delta. My Taurus 605 flew in the same locked container as the box of ammo. No problem.

    How you broach the subject with the airlines employee can be a moment for choosing your words carefully. Walking up to the desk and stating in a loud, authoritative voice, "I have a gun." will probably get you more attention than you really want.

    I usually say. Good (insert time of day here). I have a security item to declare. They say, "What?" I then say, "I have an unloaded firearm in my checked bag I need to declare."

    I have yet to have any employee actually ask to verify that it was unloaded, even though I offer everytime. One even had the honesty to admit..."I don't know anything about guns...how would I know for sure."

    Fly safe...

    migoi
     
  4. palerider1

    palerider1 member

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    just dont go out of your state with a handgun. your permit does not allow you to do that. mayby there is some sort of permission you might be able to get , but i dont know of any.
     
  5. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Member

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    Huh? :scrutiny: What? :banghead:

    You might want to clarify that before people who aren't as nice as I am jump down your throat wearing hobnailed boots. Really.
     
  6. Alex45ACP

    Alex45ACP Member

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    When you check your gun, do they let you put it in a case inside your suitcase? I'd be a bit worried about the baggage handlers getting their hands on my gun. Also, does anyone know if they'll let me take 13 rounds of ammo?

    I'll probably be flying US Air by the way.

    And to make sure they know it's unloaded I'd probably just field strip it and take it up to the counter field stripped inside the case. That way there will be no confusion.
     
  7. Alex45ACP

    Alex45ACP Member

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    LOL :D
     
  8. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    It is not that hard. I fly several times a month, and I take my gun each time. The TSA people, despite all of the horror stories you'll read on here, have always been on the ball and have followed the law nicely. I've had a few amusing conversations with airline people, but a quick reference to the regs usually resolves stuff easily. I do recommend:

    1. Go to the TSA site and print off the "firearms" page.

    2. Go to the site of your airline and print off the similar page.

    I recommend that you do this the day before you fly. The date will be listed on the page (this prevents the "well, they've changed the regs since then argument", which I've experienced).

    3. It's a BHP, so I would make sure the hammer is down on an (obviously) empty chamber. The "hammer cocked" look freaks out hoplophobes.

    4. Carry the ammo in an ammo box, just like you bought it at the store (or, re-use a commercial box).

    5. Put the pistol in a hard-sided, locked case, with a key lock (padlock).

    6. Put THAT case inside of your luggage, and lock the luggage with a TSA lock.


    If you have any more questions, let me know. I do this all the time.

    Mike
     
  9. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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  10. SJG26

    SJG26 member

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    Ques. for you Coronach....

    My Pelican 1200 case should arrive this week as we type........I fly to Wash state on Sunday-------I ordered Pels' TSA lock----but I see you advise a "keyed" lock on the gun case and the TSA-combo on the luggage........any specific reasons why??
    Thanks for the reminder by the way---either way you reminded me I need a lock now for my checked bag..................

    PA and Utah CCW's by the way---taking my PM9 with me for the trip---will be my 1st Flight w/ CCW experience!
     
  11. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    In the unlikely event that the TSA does a second search of the bag after you check it in they will cut off a keyed or combo lock. They will probably want to check in the locked gun case, anyway, and thus will have to summon you, but that would probably be after they got to that point and had already destroyed your exterior lock. Ergo, use a TSA lock for the outside. I would absolutely NOT recommend a TSA lock for the inner hard case for the gun.

    Mike

    PS I suppose they could just cut the lock of the interior case, too, but I think that would violate their regs.
     
  12. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    Oh, you're asking why you want a keyed lock for the interior case? Easy reason why...I don't want anyone having access to the gun without:

    1. summoning me for my key

    2. having to take the obvious step of destroying the lock.

    I went so far as to purchase a fairly odd keyed lock, too...one for which they're unlikely to have a master key. Thus far, that's proven to be unneccessary. My TSA experiences have been very good.

    Mike
     
  13. ball3006

    ball3006 Member

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    I just tell the ticket agent that...

    I "have a firearm to declare"......the last time I flew, I had three guns, SWMBO was with me, and she said "you are as bad as my husband"....lol...I had all three pistols in a hard side pistol case, along with two plastic ammo boxes, two calibers, that had a padlock around the handle. This is in my HARDSIDE suitcase. Don't try this with a soft side suitcase. TSA just xrayed the bag to ensure everything was packed correctly. The first time I flew with a pistol, the pistol case was in the lid side of the suitcase and when TSA opened it to look, they could not find it :what: I finally yelled over to them that it is in the lid....duh.......chris3
     
  14. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Member

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    I've made 6 airline flights in the past 6 weeks and here's my experience.

    1) Have a hard sided case for your pistol (like a small pelican) with KEYED masterlocks.

    2) Have a separate small hard sided case for your ammo and mags - also KEYED locks (ammo in original factory box and magazines unloaded).

    3) Both hard sided boxes can go inside of your other luggage (I use a large duffel with a TSA combo lock on the outside)

    4) Declare that you are transporting a firearm when you check in. They will give you a small tag to fill out and put INSIDE the pistol case...do not let them put it anywhere else...it goes INSIDE the pistol case.

    5) They will escort you to TSA (or TSA will come to you) and *may* ask to look inside. In smaller airports expect a full hand search of your entire luggage, including opening both pistol/ammo boxes. In larger airports where the TSA scanners are right by check-in they'll just run it through the machine.

    6) Go on your merry way.

    Now...one very important thing. It is against Federal Law for anyone other than that passenger to have your key or combination. What this means is if you are asked to unlock the case, YOU do it and YOU maintain they key/combo. At no time should TSA touch your key or know your combo. I've had issues with this in the past and even after showing them the exact CFR they wouldn't believe me. The actual CFR you want can be found at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi...=49&PART=1540&SECTION=111&YEAR=2002&TYPE=TEXT

    49 CFR 1540.111 2.c.iv "The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the passenger retains the key or combination."

    If you get *any* crap about this whip out your copy of the regs - if you still have a problem demand a supervisor. One time the TSA agent backed down after reading it, the next time required a supervisor who said I was correct.

    It's really not that difficult at all to fly with a firearm...just have the relevant regs printed out so you're ready. There is a TREMENDOUS knowledge gap about flying with firearms with TSA and airline personnel...be prepared.

    Mike is absolutely correct - TSA can get into my duffel (outer luggage) with their special little key and my TSA approved lock, but I don't want anybody getting into the pistol/ammo boxes without me there...too many things can go wrong (like not properly re-locking the boxes and missing firearms on the other end)
     
  15. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Coronach's tips are right on ... my experiences over the past few years (since 9/11) flying with firearms have all been positive ... only thing to add is: get to the airport at least two hours prior to flight departure time (I usually try for three hours prior and bring lots of reading material).

    No need to go to that length ... but for a semi-auto, I've sometimes locked the slide back and put a lock through the ejection port and magazine well, does make it obvious for 'em ...

    SJG26, as you know, your Utah license is recognized in Washington; just be advised no carry in bars, police stations, courthouses or mental health facilities up here ... don't have to disclose to LEO during a traffic stop, either ...
     
  16. Alex45ACP

    Alex45ACP Member

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    Do I have to have a lockable case or can I just put the gun in the box it came in and use a gun lock to secure it? I called every gun store in town today & Sports Authority and no one has a lockable case.
     
  17. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    That's fine if it's a box with a place for a padlock. I use my SIG supplied cases all the time. Just toss a padlock on it and move on. If it's just a box with no way to lock it you are out of luck.
    But, no where does it say it has to be a GUN case, so go find any lockable tool case and use that.
    Home Depot, Wal Mart, just about anywhere sells some kind of plastic case that you can slap a padlock on.

    I also tend to field strip the autos, especially SIGs since it's so easy.

    Most airlines require their employees to verify the thing is unloaded.

    Opening the case and showing them a gun in 3 or 4 pieces calms them a great deal.
     
  18. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Member

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    What in the world are you talking about?:confused:
     
  19. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Perhaps he's just one of those unfortunates who's lived in New York all his life and isn't aware of what things are like in the free states ...
     
  20. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Member

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    That's got to be it.
     
  21. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    Per the TSA, this is overkill (though not in a bad way). TSA is perfectly ok with ammo and weapon being in the same container, with ammo in a magazine so long as it is in a magazine pouch. Airlines, however, can have more stringent requirements, so I just box my ammo. Besides...what are you going to do with that extra round to top off the magazine? ;)

    http://www.tsa.gov/public/display?content=090005198005feca

    Mike
     
  22. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    The regs state it must be a locked, hard-sided container. I would imagine that your pistol's case would be fine. However, if you plan to fly with it again, I'd upgrade. Ever seen how luggage is handled? ;)

    Mike
     
  23. F4GIB

    F4GIB Member

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    If anything, things are better now because the ticket counter personnel have had some training. I never argue with them, I just demand a supervisor immediately. It always works, THEY don't want to look bad in from of their boss.
     
  24. migoi

    migoi Member

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    Can't find a gun box...

    go to your nearest large office supply store and find a locking cash box. Next go to Wally World and buy the cheapest closed cell foam sleeping pad you can find. Spend 10 minutes with a knife and create your own locking, padded pistol box.

    migoi
     
  25. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Member

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    You're correct Mike - however, some airlines require that the pistol and ammo be separated. Rather than risking it, I just bought a smaller pelican to hold the mags/ammo and now I never have to worry about any particular airline having a hissy fit.

    It goes in the box with the other 49 rounds ;) :D

    One other thing when flying...be extremely polite (as I'm sure you already are) and be confident. Watching the TSA guys face when I quoted the exact CFR was priceless [​IMG]
     
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