Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Inebriated, Feb 3, 2013.
Many of us have done a lot of flying while carrying various firearms.
Here's what I do.
1 - Fly with a Pelican case - They are the best. Do NOT use TSA locks on the Pelican case.
2 - Have gun disassembled. Just remove the slide and have it separate from the gun. This is easy with the 'pick and pluck' foam that comes with Pelican cases. Having the gun disassembled will make it clear to even the biggest numbnuts that your gun is unloaded and harmless. Even when they scan it, numbnuts at the scanner will see that and will be almost 100% unlikely to bug you about your gun.
3 - Use a factory ammo box. I fly with a 25 count box of Hornady JHPs.
4 - Once the gun has been cleared, place it inside your normal suitcase and lock the normal suitcase with TSA approved locks.
When I checked my gun at RDU (Raleigh), I was told to walk it over to TSA. That struck me as odd since I was walking around with a gun and ammo. I thought for sure that they'd have a TSA agent come over to the counter.
Every time I fly, right on my hip. But I'm an 1811....
Well...TSA did not say that standard, non-TSA locks were prohibited on the firearm case, so, personally, I would fail on the safe side and say no TSA locks.
I've had TSA cut both TSA and non-TSA locks.
Get some Abloy locks. They are supposed to call you before cutting off the locks. Get some Abloys, and they'll call you for the key.
But why bother cutting a TSA lock when they have the key already? Nothing was taken, just cut the lock and replaced it with a zip tie.
I guess if they were bright, they wouldn't be working for TSA.
I just avoid flying now. I don't like paying for the privilege of being treated like cattle.
I have flown a lot with my firearms in recent months. I've had nothing, but good experiences with every aspect of the travel. Get a good lockable case is and buy the ammo at your destination. Airlines limit the number of rounds you can take and it's just easier to buy it once you arrive at your destination. I bought a SKB pistol case that is superb! Also get the TSA approved locks as the TSA has a master key they can use to open and inspect if needed. I just go up to the ticket counter and declare "I'm flying with a firearm today" and the gate agent will get you a orange tag that you sign and they sign indication the firearm is unloaded. You lock that in your case with the firearm. Make sure you LOCK the case BEFORE they send it back to be screened. That's it, pretty simple.
I flew with an M-9 on my hip a number of times in the AF. The M-16A2 was usually in the cago compartment, though.
Never flown with a gun on commercial flights.
I flew from Portland to Detroit then back. Flying out of PDX the TSA agent had me open the case and verified it was unloaded, etc. Had a box of ammo in the factory box (Styrofoam tray). All went back into my luggage and off it went.
Coming back in DTI I declared the gun. TSA guy swabbed the outside of the factory gun case and asked "Is it unloaded"? and that was it. Straight forward both times....
You are not supposed to use TSA locks on a gun case. The TSA rules say that only you can have the key to your case, so you can't use TSA locks. People do, and the TSA folks don't understand their own rules and let it happen.
I have heard horror stories about Newark, so I'd avoid it like the plague, and would be wary of any airport in NY/NJ.
I have also flown plenty of times out of the tri country area airports of south Florida with nary a problem. Out of MIA they do not make you go to a separate TSA location, they check the firearm right at the counter and it takes an extra 2 minutes tops.
As to ammo, I always have it in a separate box, not in the lockable case with your firearm, typically in the ammo box it came in.
I did once, unintentionally. Forgot a .22 revolver was in my camera bag. Went through two x-rays and one hand inspection, and nobody found it. I was going through the bag after I got home and found it, loaded, and nearly fainted on the spot. Luckiest day of my life.
WHY on earth would you say that? I fly several times a year, from Sea-Tac down to SoCal, out to the MidWest, down to Tucson, always WITH ammo for the two handguns I typically travel with (a semi-auto and a J-frame). I leave the ammo in unopened factory boxes and usually take 100-200 rounds ... So long as one complies with the TSA and specific airline regs, it's never a problem.
Easier to buy it once you arrive? Really? These days? Even in the good ol' days, I didn't usually want to be driving around looking for the particular ammo I use -- some of us have limited time to spend doing this sort of thing on our travels, especially business travel -- and if buy ammo -- you're gonna be taking it back, right?
United Airlines, for example, allows carry of UP TO 11 POUNDS of ammunition in your checked baggage.
Somebody mentioned the 'dreaded Chicago' above. Any reason to really worry about this? I may be flying through (flights connect at O'hare) there soon. Certainly it can't be as bad as New York.
Connections are not a problem, as long as you don't touch the bag in those cities. Your transit thru is legal as long as possession is legal in the destination. Some people have gotten into trouble when there is a delay and they collect their bags for an unplanned overnight in a location where such possession is illegal. If, for example, you get snowed in to Chicago/NYC and they tell you to collect your bags for an overnight stay. Simply refuse to accept the gun case and demand they hold it or send it ahead. Anywhere but in your possession. This is where insurance gives you peace of mind. Until you accept it, lawfully, it is their liability. If they insist on leaving on the carousel for someone to steal, that is not your problem. You cannot legally accept it there, so it is there liability if it is stolen. You would just write down the names of the people you dealt with and go to your hotel without the gun case. If they don't have it when you get to your destination, file a claim. Nothing else you can do. You cannot risk your Liberty.
Now everyone is pretty aware of these issues and we now know not to make the same mistakes others have paid dearly for. Yes, some people went to jail for these mistakes.
I haven't flown with ammo so could not offer advice. Just heard different stories about ammo being treated as "explosive" by some TSA employees. A friend of mine I served with works for TSA now and has shared how *bright* his fellow employees can be. So I advise flying without ammo whenever possible. But as I said if it can't be avoided and ammo prices being what they are, picking up ammo when you land is more of a hassle than bringing some on the flight.
Where your connecting flight shouldn't be a problem. I had connecting flights in DC and JFK airport when flying with firearms and didn't have any problems at those airports. The bags went from one bird to another with no issues.
TSA/airlines have a legitimate concern that loose rounds rolling around in their cargo hold can pose a serious hazard. Especially since there may be oxygen or fuel near by. The rules are tailored to that end. Limited number of rounds, or weight, properly packed to prevent them from becoming loose rounds to find a whole in a bag.
I don't see any point in carrying a gun without ammo. It's just a club. Unless it has a bayonet, then its upgraded to a spear.
Lots of greta advice here, but if I may..
Carry an extra set of locks inside your case.
If they get cut by TSA and you are legal they will put the extra lock on your case. "NOTE A note specifying this is be done inside your locked box is handy."
Always pack your locked pistol box inside your checked bag.
Never be surprised when they hand you a Checked long gun without an ID. Yes that happens.
Flying out of Chicago is ok. Just follow the rules reiterated here... The firearm's case must be completely lock-able - ie. most plastic cases that a gun comes with is not a good choice because it still can be pried open from one side even if locked on the other. Use a locking case that can accommodate dual locks.
I'm an LEO and had an armed boarding pass getting onto one flight. The gate TSA agent didn't make me go through the mag, but did make me run my briefcase through the x-ray. She didn't know why, but said she just had to do it. Kind of wished my gun had been in the briefcase instead of on my hip just to see what she would have said....
Thanks Johnny. You can't take everything too serious. Makes it more fun to join'em sometimes.
I've flown a bunch of times with a gun checked in baggage. If you actually used the terminology "a serialized item" then it's really no wonder the ticketing agent had no idea what you were talking about. I walk up, tell them that I'm checking a handgun in whichever bag it is in, and tell them that it is stored according to regulations. They'll hand you the "unloaded firearms form" to sign, and then put you through whatever TSA song-and-dance they have at that particular airport.
The only place I've ever had an issue was at LaGuardia in NYC. DO NOT EVER fly through their with a checked gun in baggage unless you are an LEO who is covered under the nationwide CCW rule. I am a police officer, and I'm covered by that law, and I still had one heck of a time when I went through that airport (if you aren't an LEO they'll arrest you and charge you with a felony, apparently). NYC is not a part of free America.
I've flown at least a dozen of times with a handgun. Just make sure you declare it when you check in. They will give you an orange tag to fill out and place with the handgun. Just make sure the gun is unloaded and already packaged in a lockable case. I've also traveled with a submachine gun and a silencer. After I presented all of my paperwork (ATF Form 4, C&R license, etc.), I didn't have any problems. Being confident and knowledgeable of the law goes a long ways...
Ditto on the advice to have your ammo in an original box. I've carried up to 11 pounds a couple of times without any problems.
Now there was this one time that the airline agent gave me the form to carry my handgun in the cabin when I was flying home from Hawaii. After I explained that I wasn't law enforcement and merely just active duty military, the agent gave me the orange card so the handgun could go in my checked luggage...
Separate names with a comma.