Mac's Guide to Flying with a Firearm: [Archive] - Glock Talk

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MacG22
03-27-2010, 16:21
Well, I see a lot of people post questions, anecdotes, etc about flying with firearms. I thought I would add my carry procedure for flying with my CCW.

My Colorado CWP gives me a lot of places I can carry. And seeing as I travel a lot, I've started flying with my CCW quite a bit too. At first it can be a little confusing, nervous, etc. But after doing this for a few years, and a lot of trips, I've been able to boil my system down to something that I believe is secure and works for me.

This info will come in several consecutive posts due to pics. However, I will cover:

A. Packing and security
B. Checking your bag at the airline
C. Things I've had go wrong (there are very few, and none were major issues).


But first, a few things:

IMPORTANT POINTS:

1. Study the laws of your destination. Please. Find out if you can possess a pistol there, find out if you can carry, find out what the carry rules are (for example, in New Mexico you cannot carry a backup gun, etc). And just because it is easy as pie to fly TO a place, if that place is like...say, NYC... it can be difficult to get HOME with it. Some of this is legal, and some is just how uncooperative the folks at the airline can be. Just google CCW laws for a specific state, visit "concealed carry trip planner"--a good website with some good info (though it takes a few months at least for new laws to be updated), or reference the current version of the Traveler's Firearms Guide (http://www.gunlaws.com/travel.htm).

2. Know your rights and the regulations you are subject to. I'm not kidding here. There are some foundational rules that both protect you and can hurt you. Know what they are before you fly. I'll give you my system and how I confirm these, but check them out yourself before you go. They can change. And if a TSA agent asks you to do something that is NOT in their regs, don't do it. Get a supervisor. Mostly this is giving them your key or combo to the gun case... but know what your rights are. Don't make a scene. Don't be mean. No need for that if you have the law and regs on your side. Be gracious, professional, and FIRM. That's all that's needed.

3. Keep copies of the TSA regs on you, in our bag, and with your gun. I keep a copy with my travel docs (passport, license, tickets, etc), in the locked case with the gun, and tucked into the handle of the case for inspectors. Often I'll keep a copy of the individual airline's regs as well.

4. I recommend you fly with your CCW, so long as you follow all laws both for flying and for your destination. This is an important way to responsibly and calmly stand up for our gun rights without being "activists" and putting ourselves in contentious situations. And the more customers airlines have who travel with guns--smoothly and without incident--the easier it will become for us. This could potentially affect a lot of ccw laws and firearm transportation laws positively over time... but that's a whole 'nother discussion.


A. PACKING AND SECURITY

One of the main fears people have of flying with a firearm is security. Even if you can get on the plane, what if someone steals my super custom whizz-bang 99? We've all heard these stories, and I've talked to a guy who had it happen.

So I put in an extra step where possible. And I'll detail that below. I will say that it is very rare to see a case taken. And it's even more rare to lose a bag forever. Most lost luggage comes back in a day or so. For me, it's worth flying with my CCW, but I usually don't take the Dan Wesson. I'll take a Glock, M&P, XD, etc. A striker pistol that is a good gun, I shoot well, but is replaceable if I accidentally cut Murphy off in traffic on the way to the airport or something.

First of all, let me give you a link to the TSA site. This is their summary of their regs. Again, I always keep a copy of this with me, with the gun, and in the main bag as a whole.
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1666.shtm

Here's a bare bones summary:
1. You are allowed to fly with a firearm.
2. It must be unloaded.
3. It must be in a locked case, that cannot be easily openend/defeated, and ONLY YOU may have the lock or combo to access it (a very important point).
4. Ammo must be in it's own case (generally the original box, but I'll detail why later). Ammo does not have to be locked in the same case, and can only be stored in the magazine if the magazine is properly stored itself: ie, in a tight case, covered properly, etc. I don't recommend leaving in the mag, and I'll detail that later as well.
5. Other than the gun, all locks must be TSA approved locks. TSA approved locks have a TSA master key that can open them. But when it comes to the gun, specifically, it says that ONLY YOU can have access. So get your own lock, keyed or combo, and make it as good as you can for what will fit your lock slot... which is usually about a 1'' bolt or smaller.

So that's the basic concept from TSA. Here's how I've applied it based upon my experience with the airlines.

PACKING THE GUN:

I find a good case. Some use Pelican, Storm, etc. I just use one of my gun cases. Works fine, is flatter than other others, and I already own it.

I break the gun down. This is not required by TSA, but I do it anyway. This is from experience. When you declare your firearm, you are now at the mercy of the agent. They may be experienced with handguns, they may be completely unfamiliar with them, or they may be card carrying brady bunch members. You don't know. I've had them take the empty gun, pick it up for everyone behind me to see, wrinkle their brow while they stare at it, cover me, God, and everyone else with the muzzle, and then ask if I'm sure it's unloaded. So I just break it down. It makes it much less threatening. It makes it easy to see what's in it (and not in it), and if they pick up one part or another there's no fear of causing a scene.

I put my ammo in the locked case. It's the safest place for it and it makes it simple.

Not pictured, but I also put a filled out ID/Address tag INSIDE the case with the gun, and a copy of the TSA regs, folded so that the title is out and anyone who opens it can see it's there.

I unload my magazines and put them outside the case with the holsters I'll be taking.

Here's what it looks like (for reference, this is just the case that came with my M&P9c... I previously used an XD case):
http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh50/wneder/MFF1.jpg



THE MAGS, HOLSTER, AND GUN CASE:

I pack the UNLOADED mags and holster separately from the locked gun case. I put them in a shoe bag that fits next to the firearm case in the suitcase.

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh50/wneder/MFF2.jpg

On the front of the gun case I put a strip of duct tape and in bold black sharpie I put my name, address, cell phone number, and email address. I've blotched it out of these pictures but you can see where I put it.

On the back of the case I put the same info, as well as a warning that tampering will be prosecuted. This is a simple thing, not necessary, but I want anyone who might think about taking this case to know I will hunt them down.

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh50/wneder/MFF3.jpg

Finally, I put a combination pad lock on the gun case. There is a reason for this. But a keyed lock is fine, too. TSA is NOT allowed to have a copy of your combo or key that goes on the gun case. I put a combo so, if one of them tries to say, "We need to check it again, just give me the combo" I can say, "I'm sorry, sir, but I'm the only one allowed to have it. And Further, it's my pin number so for security purposes I cannot give it out." That is why I do it, and it's been 100% fool proof to date.

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh50/wneder/MFF4.jpg


And that's what I will put into the larger bag. I put the gun case, locked with a combo lock, and an unassuming shoe bag that has my mags and holsters.

*******CONTINUED IN NEXT POST********

MacG22
03-27-2010, 16:22
SECURING THE GUN CASE INSIDE MY LUGGAGE:

Now, here is the step I add that most do not. I decided some time ago that I wanted to make it difficult for an employee to take my whizz-bang 99. If they are going to do it, it needs to slow them down, cost them time, and be obvious to the cameras and their employer what they are doing. Is it foolproof? Nope. Nothing is, and I'm sorry about that. But it has been fine for me. I've never even had it tampered with.

So here's the trick. Most rolling suitcases have a handle that is made of aluminum, steel, or titanium (with ultra high end luggage). But regardless of the material, they are pretty sturdy. And that handle connects all the way down the back of the suitcase, creating a "spine" to the bag. I make a small incision through the lining and padding in the bottom of the bag so that I can put a 1'' cable (lots of materials for a good cable, but generally steel) around that post (or both posts, if you want) to secure the gun case. If they wanted to take that case, they would absolutely have to take everything out of the bag and destroy it, or cut it. Now TSA does cut locks off, and I've heard different stories about what kind of cutters they have quick access to... but in general the smaller, more common cutters will take a few passes with a 1'' cable. Larger cutters will cut right through any cable, and in that case you may want a good chain. But for me, the cable has been more than fine. Further, an employee will have to have the larger cutter, put at the INSIDE of the bag, with the bag fully open to do this. While it's not perfect, it's a lot more trouble and will draw much more attention than a common thief would take with all of their coworkers around and the internal security cameras on.

Here's the cable looped under. Very little disturbance to the bag.
http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh50/wneder/MFF5.jpg

I simply keep the cable coiled (it's tougher than you think to uncoil it, and especially under all my stuff, that's just what I want someone to be up against).
http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh50/wneder/MFF6.jpg

Then I put a good padlock that is harder to cut. Again, if they're going to do it, they can't use the little shears. And with the small bolt showing on this model lock (on of my favorites), they'd have to move stuff and be obvious to get to it.

This is allowed for two reasons. One, it does not actually lock anything they can't have access to. You can still move a coil or two and fully open the gun case for inspection if you want. But second, if it DOES prevent access to anything, it's the gun case. And YOU ARE ALLOWED TO BE THE ONLY ONE with access to your gun case. What it really does is make it much harder and more obvious if an employee wants your firearm.
http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh50/wneder/MFF7.jpg

Here's what it all looks like, fully secured and with the shoe bag with the holster and mags next to it:
http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh50/wneder/MFF8.jpg

Here's how much room it takes up in the bag. PLENTY of room left.
http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh50/wneder/MFF9.jpg


And finally, I lock the outside zippers with two TSA approved crappy little locks. I use the $10 set that has the red and green lights that tell you if TSA has opened them or not. As wimpy as those locks are, it's still a step that must be taken to access your stuff inside, and the color of the lock will show if they did. TSA locks still get cut sometimes, if they can't get the master key from a supervisor, etc, but it's pretty rare in my experience. Especially if you go through secondary screening with your case (a simple step, outlined in the next section.)


NOTE: This is the system I've worked out for my hard luggage. I'm working on trying some things with my soft luggage that doesn't have the handle/spine. Sometimes I travel with a Maxpedition duffel. Really good construction. To date, the best idea I've tried out is to loop the cable through a few t shirts and a few pairs of underwear (including a bright colored pair of my wife's "sexy" ones--will catch eyes all over the room instantly if someone was walking around with those showing). That way, if someone takes out the gun case, they've got this gaudy string of clothes attached to the line with it. It will stand out and be memorable for a camera or coworkers watching it. They do make some cable locks that have a 120db alarm, so if the cable is cut it sounds the alarm. I've considered that as well. I'm always looking for soft luggage ideas...


*******CONTINUED IN NEXT POST********

MacG22
03-27-2010, 16:22
B. CHECKING YOUR BAG AT THE AIRLINE

So you get it all packed and secured and you get to the airport. Here's where the list begins.

1. Be early. Please. If you're going to fly with the firearm, be early. I've never had it add more than 30 minutes to the whole process for me, but you want to give it even more than that in case you have to go through an extra security verification or two.

2. Go to the counter. You cannot use a skycap. You must declare with an agent. If you check in at the curb and then tell them you have a firearm, they may hustle you right to the front of the line. I've also had them get mad when I tried that and put me at the back and waste more of my time.


Special Note: I want to say this before we get to #3. The system I've worked out is very general, but it flies with almost every US airline I've flown on. In fact, I've had no problems. That's why I use original box for ammo and lock it down, etc. From airline to airline, they may have specific regs that TSA does not. TSA will let you cover your loaded mags. North West Airlines doesn't. Some want original ammo box, some don't . So instead of jumping through all the hoops for one airline or another, I just decided to get ONE system down and stick to it. So while you may be able to do some things a little different here and there--and I am not suggesting you cannot--I am only giving you my system that I've found to be less complex.

3. When I get to the counter, I pull out my driver's license, passport, copy of my itinerary (if I have it), a copy of the TSA firearm regs, and a copy of the airline's firearm regs.

I hand them to the agent and say, in a calm and slow tone, "Good morning. I'd like to declare that I will be carrying a legal firearm in my checked luggage, prepared to TSA and your airline's packing standards, and it's disassembled and ready for your inspection."

The combination of this formal and polite declaration, along with all the paperwork has been GOLD for me. Better, actually. Before there was always some hesitation or confusion on their part. But by giving them all the paperwork, by being formal and gracious, I've cut out more than 90% of the hustle I used to face while checking in. They seem to appreciate the preparedness, the organization, and the willingness for their inspection. You can say whatever you like, but I don't recommend walking up and simply saying that you have a gun (something I've seen happen before). I've just given you 100% check in gold, and if you ever do that and compare it you'll realize what great approach it is. Do as you will.

4. The agent will inspect the firearm. The more dissembled it is, the easier that will be. The more it looks like a "gun", the bigger the chance you have of a brady card carrier stalling you, arguing with you about how it's packed, etc. In general, if you have any real delays or issues, just calmly say, "Could I please have your supervisor inspect it, reference the TSA standards I provided for you, and help us all to get out of here in a timely manner?" I've only had to do that once, ever. I don't know if that's typical or lucky. But that's what led to my script and document presentation.

5. The agent IS NOT PERMITTED to mark the outside of the luggage with any sort of special tag showing there is a firearm inside. This is a big deal. This is what will keep your bag from becoming a target. If they try, just let them know that the tag must be inside of the bag. If they argue, get a supervisor. You generally won't have to fight this one, unless you're flying out of DC, San Francisco, NYC, etc.

6. At this point, they'll usually let you go. About every other time they'll take me to secondary screening which is around the corner, in a different room, etc. They'll have me unlock the case, they'll look, have me lock it back, send it through a screening machine, and that's it. Never had any problem there, and I prefer it actually because it's not being handled by the check in agents too much or anything.



C. THINGS I'VE HAD GO WRONG:

Not much to mention here, but just to give you all the info I can I'll give you my few stories.

1. Before I started disassembling the gun, I had agents pick it up, sweep me and everyone in line with the muzzle, and generally start a buzzing behind me that was followed by accusing looks when I saw these folks on the plane. Not worth it. Had all this happen a few times, and while it was a headache, it wasn't enough to discourage me from traveling with my gun--but it was enough to inspire me to just disassemble the thing when I pack it.

2. I had one female check in agent argue with me about every little thing. She was clearly a brady card carrier who said things like, "that thing", and "that deadly weapon" when she talked about the firearm. First I wasn't allowed to fly with ANY ammo. Then it was that I had to give her the combo to the lock. Then it was that I had to have a firearm tag on the outside of the luggage. It just went on and on until I got a supervisor, he got a copy of the regs, and we all went our way. That's why I take copies of the regs with me, put them in the case, and put them in the handle of the gun case after I lock it into my bag. And that's why I disassemble the gun in the case, and that's why I use a gracious and professional script.

3. One time in Denver International I was called down to a holding area after I had been at my gate for a while. They needed me to open it again and inspect. Not sure why. Took 15 minutes total, from leaving my seat at the gate to returning to that seat, and everyone was really polite and apologetic about it all. At least I knew my bag was under the plane and hadn't missed the connection.

And that's it. No other troubles.



CONCLUSION:
Feel free to add your own comments, stories, etc. You may do things very, very different and that is fine. I'm simply detailing my system and experience for those who are curious or who don't take their CCW with them when they travel because they're worried about the whole airport process. I know this system works for me, and so I have hope it will work for you as well.

It's really as simple as:
1. Secure the firearm in a locked case, according to regs.
2. Secure that locked case within your bag as possible.
3. Upon check-in properly declare your firearm and submit to inspections.

But as you know, there's always a little more to it than that. I do feel it's important to not go unarmed just because of the expectation of airport hustling. With luck, and the more of us that fly with our firearms, the easier it will become.

Best luck.

SRT76
03-27-2010, 16:26
Tagged.

knedrgr
03-27-2010, 16:48
very nicely detailed. thanks!

Gallium
03-27-2010, 17:47
To add :)

Some airlines require you to check the ammo in a separate bag.


'Drew

CJCinTN
03-27-2010, 17:49
Nicely done. I don't fly very often, but this is good information to know about. Thanks.

yesitsloaded
03-27-2010, 17:51
Excellent advice!

I fly all the time with my weapons checked - do most of the things you suggest, but have a whole new list of time-saving things to do now - thanks.

Out of all your suggestions, I love the idea of cable-locking the padlocked weapon(s) case to the inside of the luggage the best!

I was under the impression that you had to have your ammo packed in a separate case from the weapon(s)? I fly mostly on Continental - maybe it's just their rule - but I do so anyway.

Edit: 'Drew beat me to the ammo question

MacG22
03-27-2010, 17:54
To add :)

Some airlines require you to check the ammo in a separate bag.


'Drew

Northwest tried that on my one time. But it was never officially in their regs. And it wasn't on the TSA regs. So they were fine. No one else has said anything. Worst case, you can lock the gun in it's case and put your ammo in your main bag. That's the worst I've ever heard from other fliers. Most often if they want anything they want it locked and people may not have room in the gun case.

But that's my experience. YMMV may vary.

MacG22
03-27-2010, 17:57
Excellent advice!

I fly all the time with my weapons checked - do most of the things you suggest, but have a whole new list of time-saving things to do now - thanks.

Out of all your suggestions, I love the idea of cable-locking the padlocked weapon(s) case to the inside of the luggage the best!

I was under the impression that you had to have your ammo packed in a separate case from the weapon(s)? I fly mostly on Continental - maybe it's just their rule - but I do so anyway.

Edit: 'Drew beat me to the ammo question

It depends. General interpretation is that the fiber case for the ammo qualifies as the "separate case". You just cannot have it rolling around in the gun case. Or in the mags if the mags aren't properly covered. And in a separate compartment outside the checked box has always been enough for me, and only on Northwest was it ever in question. Again, that's just my experience.


Here's continental's regs on Ammo:
No more than 11 pounds of ammunition may be carried. The ammunition may be packed in the same container as the firearm or in a separate container. Ammunition must be packed in the manufacturer's original package or securely packed in fiber, wood or metal containers. The ammunition inside the container must be protected against shock and secured against movement. The ammunition may be packed in the same container as the firearm or in a separate container.
SOURCE (http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/content/travel/baggage/sports.aspx): under "firearms".

And here's the NRA's quick page to the airline's regs. All seem to be fine with ammo in the same case, and if anything seem to prefer it locked with it.
http://www.nraila.org/GunLaws/Federal/Read.aspx?id=70

Dexters
03-27-2010, 19:09
Thanks for the info.
When you stop and think about it for a minute - the gun is in checked luggage. There is no way a passenger could find the bag while in flight and get to the gun. All the precautions are really a waste of time.

glock_ME
03-27-2010, 19:09
Thanks so much for taking the time to put this down in a post. GREAT info.

MacG22
03-27-2010, 19:19
Thanks for the info.
When you stop and think about it for a minute - the gun is in checked luggage. There is no way a passenger could find the bag while in flight and get to the gun. All the precautions are really a waste of time.

I think it has more to do with all the other people who have contact with the bag from the time you leave it--put it in their custody-- and when you get it back. Also, there are some ways to access the luggage area from the cabin, though travelers are not permitted to.

Gallium
03-27-2010, 19:31
I think it has more to do with all the other people who have contact with the bag from the time you leave it--put it in their custody-- and when you get it back....


Correct sir. Feds are more concerned with unsavory folks who might have access to your bags than they are with you gaining access to your bags in flight.

'Drew

Scott_F
03-27-2010, 19:34
I carry out of Houston on Continental all the time. Normally a flawless procedure. One time, however, the counter girl asked to see my CHL. I told her I didn't have one. She looked like she was going to press the hidden bank robber buzzer or something. It was pretty funny. Basically I'm not showing that bimbo my CHL.

I might add that I travel with a Pelican case with some scientific analyzers in it. I have a place cut out in the bottom foam under one of the instruments where the handgun goes. The ammo goes in my main bag. I lock up the pelican case (about the size of a large briefcase) and it sails thru every time.

timbob
03-28-2010, 00:07
Tagged.

Doc226
03-28-2010, 04:50
Excellent

liljojo4711
03-28-2010, 09:21
Here's continental's regs on Ammo:
No more than 11 pounds of ammunition may be carried. The ammunition

you can only take 11 rounds with u?

EDIT: sorry, i read Rounds instead of Pounds haha

ChiefWPD
03-28-2010, 11:02
I fly with my handgun pretty often. Almost never a problem (my line at the counter is to smile and softly say to the clerk, "I'd like to declare an UNLOADED handgun."). Anyway, flying out of San Diego one time the clerk had me leave the gun container unlocked for checking with TSA. Luggage disappeared down the moving conveyer belt. Next time I saw my luggage was in Boston. All was OK but the damn gun bag was STILL UNLOCKED!! :steamed:

Captain38
03-28-2010, 11:29
Delta TRIED the same thing with me coming out of O'Hare, but I INSISTED "that wasn't going to fly (pun intended)"! They backed down and I got to lock it again before losing sight of it and my bag on the conveyor.

MacG22
03-28-2010, 13:00
Delta TRIED the same thing with me coming out of O'Hare, but I INSISTED "that wasn't going to fly (pun intended)"! They back downed and I got to lock it again before losing sight of it and my bag on the conveyor.

Yup. That's part of why I'm such a big believer of showing them a hard copy of their regs and TSA regs. When you show up and they can see you've done your homework, they tend not to challenge you on that stuff. Even the little comments cut back when they realized I was better prepared then they were.

If they want you to leave it unlocked, I would absolutely resist. TSA laws state that only you may have access. "But I'd be more than happy to accompany the bag to secondary screening, it's really no trouble...."

2c5s
03-28-2010, 14:58
TSA linky no worky

MacG22
03-28-2010, 15:06
TSA linky no worky

Just updated it. Appears they change their site often, but this looks like a shorter link so it may last a bit longer.

FL-obiwan
03-29-2010, 11:25
here is a copy of the LAW! copy it, print it, and highlite the appropriate places. I've used it to make TSA comply. They didn't believe that I actually had the law in my posession!

[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 49, Volume 8]
[Revised as of October 1, 2003]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 49CFR1540.111]

[Page 295]

TITLE 49--TRANSPORTATION

CHAPTER XII--TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF
HOMELAND SECURITY

PART 1540--CIVIL AVIATION SECURITY: GENERAL RULES--Table of Contents

Subpart B--Responsibilities of Passengers and Other Individuals and
Persons

Sec. 1540.111 Carriage of weapons, explosives, and incendiaries by individuals.

(a) On an individual's person or accessible property--prohibitions.
Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, an individual may
not have a weapon, explosive, or incendiary, on or about the
individual's person or accessible property--
(1) When performance has begun of the inspection of the individual's
person or accessible property before entering a sterile area, or before
boarding an aircraft for which screening is conducted under Sec.
1544.201 or Sec. 1546.201 of this chapter;
(2) When the individual is entering or in a sterile area; or
(3) When the individual is attempting to board or onboard an
aircraft for which screening is conducted under Sec. 1544.201 or Sec.
1546.201 of this chapter.
(b) On an individual's person or accessible property--permitted
carriage of a weapon. Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply as to
carriage of firearms and other weapons if the individual is one of the
following:
(1) Law enforcement personnel required to carry a firearm or other
weapons while in the performance of law enforcement duty at the airport.
(2) An individual authorized to carry a weapon in accordance with
Sec.Sec. 1544.219, 1544.221, 1544.223, or 1546.211 of this chapter.
(3) An individual authorized to carry a weapon in a sterile area
under a security program.
(c) In checked baggage. A passenger may not transport or offer for
transport in checked baggage:
(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.
(3) Any unauthorized explosive or incendiary.
(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.

[67 FR 8353, Feb. 22, 2002, as amended at 67 FR 41639, June

AcenJay
03-29-2010, 11:49
What if the flight makes a stop in a restrictive city or state along the way? Such as Chicago and/or New York? I was thinking about a trip from Miami, FL to Cleveland, Ohio, but the flight seems to stop in Chicago along the way and in New York on the way back.

MacG22
03-29-2010, 11:56
What if the flight makes a stop in a restrictive city or state along the way? Such as Chicago and/or New York? I was thinking about a trip from Miami, FL to Cleveland, Ohio, but the flight seems to stop in Chicago along the way and in New York on the way back.

There's no issue with transport in terms of connections.

Now, if it's a "stop over"...let's say, overnight and you leave the airport, then you are subject to the laws of the state/city. Generally, so long as you are on a flight out in the morning, you fall under "pass through" regs which your locked case can satisfy so long as you don't have it accessible to you in your means of conveyance. This is general, though. Check and make sure you know the laws of a city if you get caught (canceled flights). This site is a good guide for basic pass through info:
http://www.nraila.org/GunLaws/Federal/Read.aspx?id=59

AcenJay
03-29-2010, 12:07
There's no issue with transport in terms of connections.

Now, if it's a "stop over"...let's say, overnight and you leave the airport, then you are subject to the laws of the state/city. Generally, so long as you are on a flight out in the morning, you fall under "pass through" regs which your locked case can satisfy so long as you don't have it accessible to you in your means of conveyance. This is general, though. Check and make sure you know the laws of a city if you get caught (canceled flights). This site is a good guide for basic pass through info:
http://www.nraila.org/GunLaws/Federal/Read.aspx?id=59

I did read that guide before and the part that has "DECISION ON NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY PORT AUTHORITY CASE DUE SOON" makes New York sound especially worrisome.

MacG22
03-29-2010, 12:24
I did read that guide before and the part that has "DECISION ON NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY PORT AUTHORITY CASE DUE SOON" makes New York sound especially worrisome.

Yeah. I fly through New York occasionally. It's not a huge connection hub for me. But I've had a few cancellations in Chicago and NY before (when not flying with my firearm). Even Chicago has a workable pass through law if you're not there long, IMO.

But with NY, I've always assumed that if it happened that I would leave them in Terminal luggage storage. I believe all airports have this. There is a fee (for example, at JFK a small bag is $8 per 24 hours, a large bag is like $15). But it stays at the terminal and is locked down, etc. Even with Chicago's pass through laws--being stricter than most outside of Boston's--I would probably leave the bag in terminal storage, put any clothes or dop kit in my carry-on, and not worry.

MacG22
03-29-2010, 12:35
UPDATE:

California is about as bad as it gets. So I just called California DOJ firearms office ((916)263-4887) and asked about a stopover/cancellation/etc and what I should do.

There were two suggestions, and he was incredibly helpful and friendly:

1. Consider terminal storage

2. If not, and a passenger (non resident of California) is forced to stop over in California (Los Angeles from LAX, for example), then the hotel becomes their temporary residence and there's no need to call ATF/DOJ, etc, to inform. Just keep the handgun in TSA condition--broken down is best, locked, unloaded, etc-- and all is fine. He said this works for a period of passing through. If you decided to spend a few extra days and play, it would become subject to out of state transport and etc and may become a different situation.

I'd want to call NY as well to see if it's the same, but California is about as strict as it gets so I imagine that if you inquire at each state, about the same standard could apply. That is an assumption. I'll see if I can get ahold of NYC as well.

zoti
03-29-2010, 12:49
What was the specific problem you had in NYC?

What would you do in case for some crazy reason they DON'T let you check in the gun? How would you ship it back to yourself?

MacG22
03-29-2010, 13:26
Ok. I just talked to ATF in NYC ((718) 650-4070). Little different answer. Regarding the California procedure, they said, "That's they way it works almost everywhere. Here, we make a different recommendation." You'll see at the end that this is not necessarily true, the California procedure is valid, but there are two agencies and jurisdiction to watch out for--NYPD and ATF. Here are the comments for both.

The agent I spoke with had just gotten out of the military. He was extremely polite and helpful, and transferred me to their legal department for followup questions (message left) as well as giving me a number to a gentleman with the state police. Again, very helpful. I'm going to give you the long version, but at the end is a simple conclusion.

He said that NYC is different than almost all others. Federally, he said there's no problem with possession. So ATF doesn't have any issue. But the state law is intense, and you are not permitted to have possession of a firearm in NYC is you are a non resident and you don't have any sort of permit (and except for special situations--law enforcement, etc--non residents cannot have permits). He said that there is a fight going on now regarding even taking possession on the airport grounds from the luggage retrieval area. TSA takes custody at the check in counter, and their custody ends when they return it to you. There have been some legal battles about if a traveler was considered "in transport" or not. He said, though, that ATF doesn't care about possession and the NYPD would laws I would be under.

So to be clear about this first part... ATF has no issue, NYPD and State Police would be the ones to make sure you please.

So I called and spoke with an agent of the NYPD Pistol Licensing division (646-610-5560). She was not as friendly, acted put out by the call, but gave some really good and confident information.

1. She said that NYPD doesn't do anything in the airport. Not that they can't, they just don't. They don't care, so long as everything stays locked down in the luggage (Stays in "TSA Condition"). ATF and TSA really govern that area, and so as long as you do what they are comfortable with there are no issues. Terminal storage is no issue for them, because if TSA and the ATF don't have an issue on the airport grounds, they don't care. That is, for a packed, stowed, locked gun case in your luggage. "Pull it out or talk about it with other passengers or make everyone aware you have it and then we may care... but that's because of you, not us."

2. She said that if you're caught in travel (NY is not your DESTINATION), and you need to go to a hotel, etc, that as long as the weapon stays in "TSA CONDITION", locked down, in the luggage, etc, that there is no issue. They have decided to treat is as interstate transport and that's fine. She was very clear that this means, IN THE LUGGAGE, LOCKED DOWN, never on the person or "in their immediate possession" in the sense of unlocked, assembled, etc. She said that doing that will get you hung on the gallows. But just being a traveler who was caught in NYC and kept it all in TSA Condition would be fine. When driving, put the bag in the trunk or out of your reach if possible. Don't walk around town with your bag. Put it in the hotel/your residence while there and walk around with a different bag if you "feel the need to tour the burrows with a bag on you." Never pull it out.

CONCLUSIONS:

According to several conversations with TSA, TSA Legal, DOJ/ATF in California and New York, and the NYPD Gun Agency, it appears the "California" transport concept should be good ALMOST EVERYWHERE in the US right now. I didn't check Boston, because I never fly through there, but that's the other one I'd be cautious of. Other than that, it seems like emergency stopover or connection cancellation, etc, shouldn't be too much of an issue even in the worst cities so long as you leave everything locked up, put it in the back of the car/trunk when transporting, and just carry the bag as needed to go back and forth from hotel/residence and airport.

And it appears that the safest of the safest way to do it is just to purchase terminal storage if it happens to you. That way, even in NYC, no one will even give it a thought.

MacG22
03-29-2010, 13:52
What was the specific problem you had in NYC?

What would you do in case for some crazy reason they DON'T let you check in the gun? How would you ship it back to yourself?

So long as you have it packaged to TSA standards and the airlines standards, there's no way they cannot let you check the gun. That's why I recommend having a copy of the regs on you, though, so you can show them.

I've never heard of that happening, by the way. If a desk agent acts confused, just politely ask for a supervisor. They know policy and won't rock the boat over it so long as you show you know the policies and have met them.

zoti
03-29-2010, 14:20
Ok. I understand the NYC issue. However, I plan to fly to upstate NY to do some gun training and then to NYC to stay with a friend over the weekend.

It looks like it's going to be complicated.

MacG22
03-29-2010, 14:29
Ok. I understand the NYC issue. However, I plan to fly to upstate NY to do some gun training and then to NYC to stay with a friend over the weekend.

It looks like it's going to be complicated.

Yeah. If your DESTINATION is NYC and you're not just passing through, then--in the state-- you are not permitted to possess a firearm without a license.

I would not take your weapon in this case.


Also, you want to check the laws about taking your gun to that upstate course. The ATF agent told me that the non possession by non residents was state wide. He said if you have a shoot in the state (competition, etc) that they recommend shipping the gun to your location, within proper laws. He was a military guy... seemed very pro gun... and said the laws there were nuts right now, and if asked he tells non residents whose DESTINATION is NY State to be extremely cautious.

zoti
03-29-2010, 14:30
Yeah. If your DESTINATION is NYC and you're not just passing through, then--in the state-- you are not permitted to possess a firearm without a license.

I would not take your weapon in this case.

Thanks. That kind of ruins everything but I guess I could always use a friend's gun fro training or rent one.

Reignman
03-29-2010, 14:32
great information, you're the man.

billkill
03-29-2010, 14:47
I vote sticky on this, great info OP!
I especially like the cable idea.

zoti
03-29-2010, 14:59
I've been using pacsafe product in the like when I traveled to Thailand with my camera gear and laptop. I used it to lock my stuff inside my room when I went out but the net can be used to lock your gun case inside your suitcase and into it.

I love their product and take it with me when I travel and think I might have valuables that I will need to leave unsupervised.

It will not stop a determined theif but it will slow him down and will deter those oppertunity thieves.

http://www.pacsafe.com/www/index.php?_room=3&_action=detail&id=50

MacG22
03-29-2010, 15:00
Thanks. That kind of ruins everything but I guess I could always use a friend's gun fro training or rent one.

If it were me, I'd rent one there. DON'T forgo the training, just make other arrangements regarding the firearm.


However, I did post a number to the NYPD Pistol Licensing division (oversees the state). That's the department that handles all firearms inquiries. Just tell an agent about the training upstate, etc and see what they say.

Billy10mm
03-29-2010, 15:08
Ok. I understand the NYC issue. However, I plan to fly to upstate NY to do some gun training and then to NYC to stay with a friend over the weekend.

It looks like it's going to be complicated.

Do NOT do that and get caught.

MacG22
03-29-2010, 15:12
I've been using pacsafe product in the like when I traveled to Thailand with my camera gear and laptop. I used it to lock my stuff inside my room when I went out but the net can be used to lock your gun case inside your suitcase and into it.

I love their product and take it with me when I travel and think I might have valuables that I will need to leave unsupervised.

It will not stop a determined theif but it will slow him down and will deter those oppertunity thieves.

http://www.pacsafe.com/www/index.php?_room=3&_action=detail&id=50

Pacsafe is a great product. NOTHING will stop a determined thief but time. But it's a good product to keep it from walking away. It can be cut pretty quickly (I've tested them) but they have to cut each section until they can get it out because of the slash stop.

There's also this cable. If cut, it set's off a 120db alarm:
http://www.corporatetravelsafety.com/catalog/lock-alarm-with-foot-cable-p-261.html

http://www.corporatetravelsafety.com/catalog/product_thumb.php?img=images/products/lock_alarm/41GCN7NF6WL__SS400_.jpg&w=300&h=300


And this pacsafe bag has that slash liner on the inside and can be a great way to carry ammo, mags, etc (it's soft sided so won't work for the gun on the airline) but is a great way to store it at your destination or in your car:
http://www.corporatetravelsafety.com/catalog/pacsafe-travelsafe-portable-safe-p-872.html

http://www.corporatetravelsafety.com/catalog/product_thumb.php?img=images/TS20L1.jpg&w=300&h=300

http://www.corporatetravelsafety.com/catalog/images/TS20L2_cutaway.jpg

zoti
03-29-2010, 16:20
Do NOT do that and get caught.

I have no intention of doing that.

Captain38
03-30-2010, 04:38
...there are two agencies and jurisdiction to watch out for--NYPD and ATF.

Actually, the law enforcement agency that will present possible problems for anyone flying out of the greater NYC area airports with a firearm is the Port Authority Police of New York-New Jersey.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Authority_of_New_York_and_New_Jersey

Bill Lumberg
03-30-2010, 06:23
Good write-up. It should be noted that the stock glock box and a stock glock cable lock are fully sufficient for checking a gun.

MacG22
03-30-2010, 09:42
Actually, the law enforcement agency that will present possible problems for anyone flying out of the greater NYC area airports with a firearm is the Port Authority Police of New York-New Jersey.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Authority_of_New_York_and_New_Jersey

I lumped the PA under NYPD, in this case, because the ATF agent said that that NYPD Pistol Licensing are the ones deferred to when TSA, PA, NYPD, and ATF have an issue with firearms and the state law. That's who they call, so to speak.

However, I am certainly not an expert on the agencies there and only know what I was told in my conversations with those agencies. The numbers are posted above and I would encourage any NYC residents to investigate further post your findings here for the benefit of the community.

Good write-up. It should be noted that the stock glock box and a stock glock cable lock are fully sufficient for checking a gun.

Yes and no. I asked TSA if a cable lock was a sufficient lock for the gun case (as a backup...because I have two dozen of them sitting in the safe). According to TSA, a cable lock is fine so long as it prevents the case from opening. However, if you can still open it enough to get the gun out (which you CAN, with many cable locks) then they will not permit it to be loaded on the plane. TSA told me that the box must be locked SECURELY, meaning that you can't just reach in and get it out.

So regarding cable locks their answer was, essentially, "If you've got a way to make a cable lock keep it closed--which most won't do--then yes. But cable locks were designed for the firearm itself, not the case". A stock glock cable can be wrapped around the handle of the stock glock box pretty securely, IMO, but it can also leave some slack if you're not careful.

I'm sure many folks have used the cable lock just fine and can continue to, but I also wanted to let you know that it could be a problem with TSA if you get the wrong guy on the wrong day and that may not be a chance worth taking. The combo masterlock I put on my case cost me $10 and is twice as strong as the cable locks I got with my firearms (in terms of force to cut). However, if you're going to use your stock glock box (I use my M&P case) there's no lock hole so you'll have to improvise in some way.

chemcmndr
03-30-2010, 10:00
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the TSA/check in agents were not allowed to handle your firearm. You were the only one that could handle it and show them that it was unloaded.

MacG22
03-30-2010, 10:10
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the TSA/check in agents were not allowed to handle your firearm. You were the only one that could handle it and show them that it was unloaded.

They can handle it for purposes of inspection and verification. At least they do, and in my experience they are not about to give up that activity any time soon. I've had them physically inspect almost every time I've ever brought it assembled, and I've had it physically inspected at secondary, too. The last thing I would recommend when they unlock that box is for you to reach for it. But that's just me.

But once it's inspected and locked, ONLY YOU are allowed to have the key.

Robby6Pack
04-01-2010, 06:37
Great info here. Just thought I would share a story from this morning at OHare. I am through here almost weekly. I sometimes bring a firearm and other times don't. This time I had NO firearm. When I'm on the road, I look at ammo prices, and if it's even $1 cheaper a box, I'll buy a couple. Hey, it doesn't cost anything. Anyway, I have never had any problems here at OHare. Ammo was in the original boxes and I hadn't exceeded the weight limit for United. Get to the counter, use kiosk and when the girl(very nice and polite) comes to tag my bag, I declare that I have ammo. She is taking me to the special luggage desk, which is normal, but nobody is there. She grabs a Supervisor. He immediately freaks that I have ammo. "You can't check this here!" The girl calmly tells him the situation. He is digging for forms and all kind of stuff. He brings me one of the orange tags for firearms, the one that says "unloaded Firearm". I have a bewildered look, and he sees it. I am at this point kinda laughing inside. He stops and says I have to see a TSA agent. Cool. He explains rather rudely that I was unwilling to fill out a "unloaded firearm" card. I said "Sir, I'm not carrying a firearm, and you can't unload bullets without shooting them". TSA guy laughs. Supervisor clearly pissed. Asks TSA what the rule is. TSA guy explains that all is cool and no card is needed when no firearm is present. Never had any trouble here before, just thought it was ironic that I ran across this post last night. Oh, he also wanted to put something on the bag so the TSA would no there was ammo in the bag. TSA guy said absolutely not. Once again great info in this thread!

Only other airport story is coming home form Hawaii(1993). Getting out of Marines and coming home. Have a New Model Black 45 long colt in a locked case in my locked sea bag. Back before 9/11 so everything could be locked. Lady asked to inspect so I dig it out. She starts waving a Stainless Steel 45 with a 7.5" barrel around asking for assistance from some of the guys behind the counter. I asked her to put it down until someone got there or I could show her where to inspect. I heard the others chewing her out as I walked towards the gates.

Robby T

Gallium
04-01-2010, 06:49
If it were me, I'd rent one there. DON'T forgo the training, just make other arrangements regarding the firearm.


...

In general, you will be hard pressed to rent a gun in NY. Only a few select places do that. And unless you are in the state as a LEO or doing very specific TRAINING or COMPETITION affiliated with the National Rifle Association, possession of a handgun in NY would be unlawful.

Under no circumstance, should anyone who is not

a) LE
b) NYS pistol permit holder

attempt to traverse NYC airports with a handgun. YOU WILL BE ARRESTED. YOU WILL MISS YOU FLIGHT. YOU WILL BE PROCESSED, FINGERPRINTED AND BOOKED (unless you are the wife of some CNN muckety-muck).

The port authority is the lead LE agency at NYC airports, but if a gun arrest has to be made, the NYPD takes over.

'Drew

MacG22
04-01-2010, 09:38
In general, you will be hard pressed to rent a gun in NY. Only a few select places do that. And unless you are in the state as a LEO or doing very specific TRAINING or COMPETITION affiliated with the National Rifle Association, possession of a handgun in NY would be unlawful.

Under no circumstance, should anyone who is not

a) LE
b) NYS pistol permit holder

attempt to traverse NYC airports with a handgun. YOU WILL BE ARRESTED. YOU WILL MISS YOU FLIGHT. YOU WILL BE PROCESSED, FINGERPRINTED AND BOOKED (unless you are the wife of some CNN muckety-muck).

The port authority is the lead LE agency at NYC airports, but if a gun arrest has to be made, the NYPD takes over.

'Drew

1. I assumed renting, I guess incorrectly. Because it would seem that if there was a training course in NY State that, like California, they would have a way to rent them there. Otherwise how can they train? I've done some training in California and the schools were always on their own private property. They always rented/loaned/etc. But in general it seems that is a bad business model to be a handgun trainer for the public if you live in NY. At least if you model includes residents of other states.

2. Yeah, the folks I spoke with that outlined the situation in New York for me were all very strict about this being about a traveler, who's destination was NOT NYC that was stranded due to airline cancellation of connections.

They were also very clear that if NYC was the destination, or if there was any reason to go on their radar, that the consequences were both swift and severe.

Drew, let's say you moved out of NYC. No longer a permit holder. You move to Tennessee. You going to attend a competition in the Carolinas or some such. You book the flight, check your gun according to standards, and make the first leg to Chicago. In Chicago you're told that the flights have been changed due to weather and you'll be making a connection in NYC. Once in NYC your flight is cancelled. It's 11PM, but you'll be on the first flight out in the morning. (This is almost an exact situation that happened to me, just with different cities but with the stranding in NYC--I did not have a firearm at the time so it was actually kind of a fun interruption).

What would you do when you got to NYC?

IndyGunFreak
04-05-2010, 17:48
UPDATE:

California is about as bad as it gets. So I just called California DOJ firearms office ((916)263-4887) and asked about a stopover/cancellation/etc and what I should do.

There were two suggestions, and he was incredibly helpful and friendly:

1. Consider terminal storage

2. If not, and a passenger (non resident of California) is forced to stop over in California (Los Angeles from LAX, for example), then the hotel becomes their temporary residence and there's no need to call ATF/DOJ, etc, to inform. Just keep the handgun in TSA condition--broken down is best, locked, unloaded, etc-- and all is fine. He said this works for a period of passing through. If you decided to spend a few extra days and play, it would become subject to out of state transport and etc and may become a different situation.

I'd want to call NY as well to see if it's the same, but California is about as strict as it gets so I imagine that if you inquire at each state, about the same standard could apply. That is an assumption. I'll see if I can get ahold of NYC as well.

Great read.. I'm not much of a traveler, but you've posted some good and handy info. I think most of us have read about what happened to the gun owner who was detained for 3mo before it was finally worked out. Sounds like Terminal Storage is the best idea if you think there is any possibility you'll be stopped in NYC/NJ.

IGF

skyparker
04-06-2010, 15:13
The wife and I are headed to Florida on Allegiant Air in a couple of weeks and are planning to take 3 autos in a Pelican/Storm type case. (1 CCW, 1 bug, 1 for a range to train) I'm taking just a few mags worth of SD ammo and purchasing range ammo there.

I'll take advantage of the OP's great tips and follow his steps of firearm/ammo prep, case prep and securing all to my baggage.

Has anyone had experience or issues flying with more than one firearm in a case? If asked "why?" by an agent or TSA, what would be an appropriate response?

MacG22
04-06-2010, 16:25
The wife and I are headed to Florida on Allegiant Air in a couple of weeks and are planning to take 3 autos in a Pelican/Storm type case. (1 CCW, 1 bug, 1 for a range to train) I'm taking just a few mags worth of SD ammo and purchasing range ammo there.

I'll take advantage of the OP's great tips and follow his steps of firearm/ammo prep, case prep and securing all to my baggage.

Has anyone had experience or issues flying with more than one firearm in a case? If asked "why?" by an agent or TSA, what would be an appropriate response?



Sometimes I fly with two. But never more than two... just because I didn't have need.

A few considerations:

1. Every airline has a different standard. In general, you can take one to four in one case, total (sometimes in multiple cases, depending on the airline). That's just a general outline... be sure to read and have a copy for you airline (never been on it).

2. When I carried two I was never asked why, but if so I would probably throw out something like "pistol sports competition". Sure, it's not the truth. And I understand it's none of their business (you don't have to answer the question even if they ask), however I personally see a lot of value in putting the gate agent at ease. They don't need to know your theories about personal defense and concealed carry. They don't need to know anything, really. But I have found that the more at ease they are, the quicker you get through and the less hassle you have.

Just my opinion and there are certainly many sides to the issue of "what to tell them above and beyond the law and their regulations".

Have a good trip, and if you're able, please post an account of your travel experience here when you get back.

skyparker
04-06-2010, 22:32
Sometimes I fly with two. But never more than two... just because I didn't have need.

A few considerations:

1. Every airline has a different standard. In general, you can take one to four in one case, total (sometimes in multiple cases, depending on the airline). That's just a general outline... be sure to read and have a copy for you airline (never been on it).

2. When I carried two I was never asked why, but if so I would probably throw out something like "pistol sports competition". Sure, it's not the truth. And I understand it's none of their business (you don't have to answer the question even if they ask), however I personally see a lot of value in putting the gate agent at ease. They don't need to know your theories about personal defense and concealed carry. They don't need to know anything, really. But I have found that the more at ease they are, the quicker you get through and the less hassle you have.

Just my opinion and there are certainly many sides to the issue of "what to tell them above and beyond the law and their regulations".

Have a good trip, and if you're able, please post an account of your travel experience here when you get back. ALLEGIANT AIR WARNING... I found this out today and what a big surprise I got. The following is the entire firearm script copied straight from the Allegiant Air website at http://www.allegiantair.com/aaFAQ.php (http://www.allegiantair.com/aaFAQ.php)

Allegiant allows firearms to be transported using the following guidelines:

All customers must declare their firearm at time of check-in.
Firearms and ammunition cannot be carried on-board the aircraft and are accepted in checked baggage only.
All firearms must be unloaded
Firearms must be in a locked case and must be able to withstand normal baggage handling without damaging the firearm or other baggage.
Small-arms ammunition intended for sport or hunting are accepted only if carried in a sturdy checked bag.
Ammunition must be in the manufactures original container, or equivalent fiber, wood, or metal container specifically designed to carry ammunition. This carrier must provide sufficient cartridge separation.
The following are per person limitations on ammunition:

No more than three hundred (300) rounds of pistol (rim fire) ammunition.
No more than one hundred twenty (120) rounds of rifle (center fire) ammunition.
No more than one hundred fifty (150) shotgun shells.
The total gross weight of the ammunition cannot exceed eleven (11) pounds per passenger.
One handgun case (with only 1 unloaded handgun inside) will be accepted for each paying passenger.
One shotgun case (with maximum 2 unloaded shotguns inside) will be accepted for each paying passenger.
One rifle case (with maximum 2 unloaded rifles inside) will be accepted for each paying passenger.



PLEASE NOTE THE BOLD RULE 5 ABOVE.

I previously wrote in an earlier post that I desired to take 3 firearms in one Pelican/Storm type case. So, I called Allegiant today to confirm.
OK, per the rule, I was ready to comply and only take two guns using two gun cases with one gun in each case. And, per the rule, my wife and I are both paying passengers. This is where they got me... I was informed by Allegiant they only allow ONE handgun in ONE case in ONE CHECKED BAG.

:shocked: WOW, unless somebody sees something I don't, the entire rule script does not mention, infer or interpret anything like that. How are we supposed to interpret "paying passengers" to really mean "paid checked baggage?" Not all passengers in this day and time with high bag fees check more than 1 bag. This seems somewhat misleading to say the least. Needless to say, I'm not too happy about it. :steamed:

Well, I'm so glad I I called them...it didn't make a lot of sense to have 2 guns in 2 cases in 1 checked bag, but I was ready to comply. It just chaps me that it's not stated that way.

Had I not called and went ahead and followed the letter of their law, my wife and I would have had a mess on our hands with a extra gun or two at the ticket counter. It probably would not have even mattered if I had their firearm rules printed in hand. The only way we can take two guns now is to pay an extra $40plus to check another bag.

What I learned today: Read the airlines rules, then call them for the interpretation.

Oh..and fly Southwest Airlines... No baggage fees and they allow multiple firearms to be transported inside one hard-sided case.

hikerpaddler
04-07-2010, 07:52
Yes, cable locks are acceptable. Yes, if you're not bright enough to secure your case with one properly, you can have a problem. And I've never found a cable lock that wasn't sufficient.

I lumped the PA under NYPD, in this case, because the ATF agent said that that NYPD Pistol Licensing are the ones deferred to when TSA, PA, NYPD, and ATF have an issue with firearms and the state law. That's who they call, so to speak.

However, I am certainly not an expert on the agencies there and only know what I was told in my conversations with those agencies. The numbers are posted above and I would encourage any NYC residents to investigate further post your findings here for the benefit of the community.



Yes and no. I asked TSA if a cable lock was a sufficient lock for the gun case (as a backup...because I have two dozen of them sitting in the safe). According to TSA, a cable lock is fine so long as it prevents the case from opening. However, if you can still open it enough to get the gun out (which you CAN, with many cable locks) then they will not permit it to be loaded on the plane. TSA told me that the box must be locked SECURELY, meaning that you can't just reach in and get it out.

So regarding cable locks their answer was, essentially, "If you've got a way to make a cable lock keep it closed--which most won't do--then yes. But cable locks were designed for the firearm itself, not the case". A stock glock cable can be wrapped around the handle of the stock glock box pretty securely, IMO, but it can also leave some slack if you're not careful.

I'm sure many folks have used the cable lock just fine and can continue to, but I also wanted to let you know that it could be a problem with TSA if you get the wrong guy on the wrong day and that may not be a chance worth taking. The combo masterlock I put on my case cost me $10 and is twice as strong as the cable locks I got with my firearms (in terms of force to cut). However, if you're going to use your stock glock box (I use my M&P case) there's no lock hole so you'll have to improvise in some way.

MacG22
04-07-2010, 12:12
ALLEGIANT AIR WARNING... I found this out today and what a big surprise I got. The following is the entire firearm script copied straight from the Allegiant Air website at http://www.allegiantair.com/aaFAQ.php (http://www.allegiantair.com/aaFAQ.php)

Allegiant allows firearms to be transported using the following guidelines:

All customers must declare their firearm at time of check-in.
Firearms and ammunition cannot be carried on-board the aircraft and are accepted in checked baggage only.
All firearms must be unloaded
Firearms must be in a locked case and must be able to withstand normal baggage handling without damaging the firearm or other baggage.
Small-arms ammunition intended for sport or hunting are accepted only if carried in a sturdy checked bag.
Ammunition must be in the manufactures original container, or equivalent fiber, wood, or metal container specifically designed to carry ammunition. This carrier must provide sufficient cartridge separation.
The following are per person limitations on ammunition:

No more than three hundred (300) rounds of pistol (rim fire) ammunition.
No more than one hundred twenty (120) rounds of rifle (center fire) ammunition.
No more than one hundred fifty (150) shotgun shells.
The total gross weight of the ammunition cannot exceed eleven (11) pounds per passenger.
One handgun case (with only 1 unloaded handgun inside) will be accepted for each paying passenger.
One shotgun case (with maximum 2 unloaded shotguns inside) will be accepted for each paying passenger.
One rifle case (with maximum 2 unloaded rifles inside) will be accepted for each paying passenger.



PLEASE NOTE THE BOLD RULE 5 ABOVE.

I previously wrote in an earlier post that I desired to take 3 firearms in one Pelican/Storm type case. So, I called Allegiant today to confirm.
OK, per the rule, I was ready to comply and only take two guns using two gun cases with one gun in each case. And, per the rule, my wife and I are both paying passengers. This is where they got me... I was informed by Allegiant they only allow ONE handgun in ONE case in ONE CHECKED BAG.

:shocked: WOW, unless somebody sees something I don't, the entire rule script does not mention, infer or interpret anything like that. How are we supposed to interpret "paying passengers" to really mean "paid checked baggage?" Not all passengers in this day and time with high bag fees check more than 1 bag. This seems somewhat misleading to say the least. Needless to say, I'm not too happy about it. :steamed:

Well, I'm so glad I I called them...it didn't make a lot of sense to have 2 guns in 2 cases in 1 checked bag, but I was ready to comply. It just chaps me that it's not stated that way.

Had I not called and went ahead and followed the letter of their law, my wife and I would have had a mess on our hands with a extra gun or two at the ticket counter. It probably would not have even mattered if I had their firearm rules printed in hand. The only way we can take two guns now is to pay an extra $40plus to check another bag.

What I learned today: Read the airlines rules, then call them for the interpretation.

Oh..and fly Southwest Airlines... No baggage fees and they allow multiple firearms to be transported inside one hard-sided case.


So which gun will you be taking? Is it worth it for you to take the extra $40 for the bag (for both legs) to have the other pistol with you?

Good thing you made the call. However, had you have had a a copy of their regs from their site (One per passenger) and made it to the gate, I bet you would have been able to speak with a manager and been fine. The last thing they want at the gate is a scene, and if they caused you to miss your flight because they worded their regs poorly they would open themselves up to any manner of administrative issues. Especially if your wife holds up her cell phone camera and says something like, "Honey, we're gonna be youtube stars."

Really, though, in my experience and with all the folks I've compared notes with on this stuff if you have TSA regs and the airline regs on you and you follow it to the letter, you'll get on the plane regardless of what else they try to interpret at the gate. However, I always hold to the rule that it's best not the be the test case and I won't provoke any situations. I carry the rules because, if I accidentally find myself in some situation I can simply point out that I was following everything to the letter of their law.

skyparker
04-07-2010, 14:49
MacG22, 1++ on your great comments and I agree with all.

I'm still kicking it around about springing for another checked bag. If not, will probably take my EDC, holster, its alternate barrel and some SD ammo. Have been intending to try some of the ranges in FL but also wanted to have more than one gun.

If I have any further dialog with Allegiant, I'll be sure to post it. Will add that they were nothing but nice, courteous and helpful as they could be to me even as I pressed the issue on their regs being so ambiguous and unclear. But, they held their ground.

Thanks again for all your help in this thread.

MacG22
04-17-2010, 10:13
So I wanted to post a quick update. I'm sitting in the airport now typing on my laptop.

I'm headed to a place that honors my permit but I've never carried while flying there... mostly because I was always stopped and worked in Chicago or New York before I get there.

I will say it seems to be getting easier and easier to fly out of Denver with a firearm. Not to say they're not doing their job... they are. I was asked probably 7 times if everything was prepared properly and if it was locked properly. The gate agent was kind and helpful. In fact, when she handed the "firearm" tag to her assistant she stated very clearly, "this goes inside, not outside".

On the way to secondary screening the airline employee, a man in his fifties, asked "so what do you carry..." which led to a pleasant conversation. TSA screeners had me stand outside their pod area and screened it, confirmed it was properly locked (by asking and observing) but never had me unlock everything or create a hassle. In fact, when they were finished they told me everything was great and they were friendly and smiling. I was impressed and would certainly give TSA Denver a glowing review (this is not my first positive experience here).

I think this goes to show that the more folks that check a legal and properly prepared firearm--incident free--the easier it will get. I actually think having a lot of folks fly with their firearm and to do it RIGHT (no issues, no scenes) the easier it will get for us. It may not be as effective as donating to the NRA or calling your representatives, etc, but maybe it is. I tend to believe that "organic changes" to law and policy are generally more durable and effective than ones that are forced.

I will also add that I was gracious and profession the whole time. I was a parrot, too. Every time they asked if something was done I would say "Yes sir/mam. I have prepared everything to your airline's and TSA's requirements" and you're more than welcome to inspect it". I wasn't fake or false with them at all. I find that is often counter productive. But I was warm and disarming and that seems to go a long way.

Again, great experience and I felt the Denver TSA and Airline employees did a great job interacting with me as well as following their procedures and protocols.

All in all, it added about 10 minutes to my standard airline routine.

steveksux
04-17-2010, 11:02
Regarding connection in NYC, what about high capacity magazine restrictions/hollow points? Aren't they illegal there? If so, is that covered under travellers through, or no?

Randy

swinokur
04-17-2010, 13:01
So I wanted to post a quick update. I'm sitting in the airport now typing on my laptop.

I'm headed to a place that honors my permit but I've never carried while flying there... mostly because I was always stopped and worked in Chicago or New York before I get there.

I will say it seems to be getting easier and easier to fly out of Denver with a firearm. Not to say they're not doing their job... they are. I was asked probably 7 times if everything was prepared properly and if it was locked properly. The gate agent was kind and helpful. In fact, when she handed the "firearm" tag to her assistant she stated very clearly, "this goes inside, not outside".

On the way to secondary screening the airline employee, a man in his fifties, asked "so what do you carry..." which led to a pleasant conversation. TSA screeners had me stand outside their pod area and screened it, confirmed it was properly locked (by asking and observing) but never had me unlock everything or create a hassle. In fact, when they were finished they told me everything was great and they were friendly and smiling. I was impressed and would certainly give TSA Denver a glowing review (this is not my first positive experience here).

I think this goes to show that the more folks that check a legal and properly prepared firearm--incident free--the easier it will get. I actually think having a lot of folks fly with their firearm and to do it RIGHT (no issues, no scenes) the easier it will get for us. It may not be as effective as donating to the NRA or calling your representatives, etc, but maybe it is. I tend to believe that "organic changes" to law and policy are generally more durable and effective than ones that are forced.

I will also add that I was gracious and profession the whole time. I was a parrot, too. Every time they asked if something was done I would say "Yes sir/mam. I have prepared everything to your airline's and TSA's requirements" and you're more than welcome to inspect it". I wasn't fake or false with them at all. I find that is often counter productive. But I was warm and disarming and that seems to go a long way.

Again, great experience and I felt the Denver TSA and Airline employees did a great job interacting with me as well as following their procedures and protocols.

All in all, it added about 10 minutes to my standard airline routine.

Ditto for McCarran in Las Vegas and Dulles in VA. Never a problem. Always cheerful and cooperative. It may just be my imagination but it seems to me that both TSA and airline staff are easier to deal with in gun friendly states.

Maybe they just get more travelers with firearms than gun hostile states.

Jon_R
04-19-2010, 19:27
I am traveling for the first time with a pistol next week out of Orlando into Vegas and then back.

Can you use the Kiosks for getting your boarding passes or do you have to stand in the big line of people that need to talk with an agent? With the kiosks an agent comes up to you still and checks you ID and puts the tag on your luggage which then you drop off for TSA.

B.Reid
04-20-2010, 08:28
The one question I have is about the ammo. I know it has to be in a box but does the box have to lock? Does it go in the case with the gun or in another locked case? Or can I just put the ammo boxes loose in my bag?

Jon_R
04-20-2010, 08:37
The one question I have is about the ammo. I know it has to be in a box but does the box have to lock? Does it go in the case with the gun or in another locked case? Or can I just put the ammo boxes loose in my bag?

For Delta it does not need to be locked up. It just needs to be packed so the rounds are separated from each other. It could be a paper, plastic, or metal box up to 11 lbs.

swinokur
04-20-2010, 09:23
I am traveling for the first time with a pistol next week out of Orlando into Vegas and then back.

Can you use the Kiosks for getting your boarding passes or do you have to stand in the big line of people that need to talk with an agent? With the kiosks an agent comes up to you still and checks you ID and puts the tag on your luggage which then you drop off for TSA.

Using a Kiosk won't work well because:

1. A counter agent may or may not want to inspect your firearm.
2. A counter agent needs you to sign a declaration tag that you put inside your suitcase declaring the firearm is unloaded. kiosks can't do that.
3. In some cases an airline rep will have to walk you and your bag to TSA for screeniing, If the screeners aren't close by. Again, Kiosks are not set up for people traveling with guns. You can get your boarding pass when you get to the counter although some airlines give you a small discount for checking in and checking your bag on line. But you still gotta go to the counter anyway for the tag and inspection

I always give myself an extra 30 minutes if I am traveling with a handgun in case of the aforementioned counter lines. Small tip as you approach the counter,just state in a normal conversation level and matter of fact voice "I have an unloaded weapon I need to declare." Works much better than "I have a gun" in a voice others in line can hear.

My .02 YMMV

swinokur
04-20-2010, 09:42
The one question I have is about the ammo. I know it has to be in a box but does the box have to lock? Does it go in the case with the gun or in another locked case? Or can I just put the ammo boxes loose in my bag?
TSA allows ammo to be either in your luggage or inside the locked gun container. As mentioned it has to be in a container suitable for holding ammo. (no loose rounds) Original containers are OK. Check airline web pages for weight restrictions on ammo. As an example, United allows onnly 11 lbs but Alaska air allows 50. Check before flying.

MacG22
04-20-2010, 09:51
The one question I have is about the ammo. I know it has to be in a box but does the box have to lock? Does it go in the case with the gun or in another locked case? Or can I just put the ammo boxes loose in my bag?

Every airline is different. Some are really easy about it (just properly secure your unlaoded mags, etc) and some are more harsh. I have adopted a system which is pretty foolproof... I found what I believed to be the strctest interpretations and I use them for every flight. It's not necessary to do that, but there's no chance for mistakes if I get rushed or have a temporary lapse in memory, etc. My default routine satisfies the strictest requirements.

I am traveling for the first time with a pistol next week out of Orlando into Vegas and then back.

Can you use the Kiosks for getting your boarding passes or do you have to stand in the big line of people that need to talk with an agent? With the kiosks an agent comes up to you still and checks you ID and puts the tag on your luggage which then you drop off for TSA.

I use the kiosks if I need. Generally I try to check in online before I get there, though.

Here's why I like to use the kiosks...

When you check in at the kiosk, you can pretty well get done by the time they come and try and take any back you have selected to check. And you can select your seat, etc, which can be nice.

If you go to the counter and you get someone who is put off by the firearm, they may not be as kind an accommodating when selecting your seat for you. I was given a middle seat one time from that story I posted in the OP and when the plane took off there were tons of other seats open.

So the kiosk isn't bad, in my experience, but by far the best way to have checked in online and printed your boarding pass at hone, IMO.

B.Reid
04-20-2010, 10:31
Every airline is different. Some are really easy about it (just properly secure your unlaoded mags, etc) and some are more harsh. I have adopted a system which is pretty foolproof... I found what I believed to be the strctest interpretations and I use them for every flight. It's not necessary to do that, but there's no chance for mistakes if I get rushed or have a temporary lapse in memory, etc. My default routine satisfies the strictest requirements.



I use the kiosks if I need. Generally I try to check in online before I get there, though.

Here's why I like to use the kiosks...

When you check in at the kiosk, you can pretty well get done by the time they come and try and take any back you have selected to check. And you can select your seat, etc, which can be nice.

If you go to the counter and you get someone who is put off by the firearm, they may not be as kind an accommodating when selecting your seat for you. I was given a middle seat one time from that story I posted in the OP and when the plane took off there were tons of other seats open.

So the kiosk isn't bad, in my experience, but by far the best way to have checked in online and printed your boarding pass at hone, IMO.



What is the proper way to secure my mags? Lock them in the case with the gun. Can the ammo boxes just be placed in my checked bag?

glockaviator
04-20-2010, 10:43
Anyone ever try flying into another country?

swinokur
04-20-2010, 11:12
What is the proper way to secure my mags? Lock them in the case with the gun. Can the ammo boxes just be placed in my checked bag?

Mags should be locked in your pistol case or suitcase UNLOADED. According to TSA rules you can put loaded mags into your luggage if the open ends are covered as inserted into a belt mag holder, but I have seen airline reps who wouldn't allow it, so to be safe, travel with mags unloaded to guarantee a hassle free trip.


Ammo can be placed in your checked bag no problem. Conform with ammo box rules and you'll be fine.

Again, my .02

swinokur
04-20-2010, 11:14
Anyone ever try flying into another country?

Ever watch the cable show Locked Up Abroad?

:wow:

Jon_R
04-20-2010, 13:54
I use the kiosks if I need. Generally I try to check in online before I get there, though.

Here's why I like to use the kiosks...

When you check in at the kiosk, you can pretty well get done by the time they come and try and take any back you have selected to check. And you can select your seat, etc, which can be nice.

If you go to the counter and you get someone who is put off by the firearm, they may not be as kind an accommodating when selecting your seat for you. I was given a middle seat one time from that story I posted in the OP and when the plane took off there were tons of other seats open.

So the kiosk isn't bad, in my experience, but by far the best way to have checked in online and printed your boarding pass at hone, IMO.

Ok. I will plan on checking in online. Hopefully it will be pretty clear where I need to go with my boarding pass and bag to check. I have not flown in a couple of years. I have a confirmed seat and am in the first class cabin so they better not try and move me around. :)

rmarkob
04-20-2010, 15:03
I have packed my bag in a similar manner as MacG22 describes here, but using a $30 Secure-It or http://www.center-of-mass.com/Store_InCarGunSafe.htm, with a steel cable looped around the suitcase frame. The case my Glock came in doesn't have a place for a padlock.

I usually just tell them at the airline counter that I need an unloaded firearms declaration form. I've had varied experience with where the airline employee wants the tag to go. Most realize it's supposed to be inside the luggage, but outside of the locked firearm container, specifically so the TSA screener can see I declared it with the airline. In fact at SeaTac the secondary TSA guy once taped the tag to the gunsafe so it wouldn't get separated inside the luggage.

At Savannah/Hilton Head a couple of weeks ago, the airline lady (US Airways) absolutely insisted the tag go inside the case, stating it was what TSA there wanted (she radio'd ahead that it was on its way down). Some tags have an elastic string, and I usually loop that over the latch inside the case and leave the tag hanging out, but I didn't argue with the witch (sorry, she had an attitude). The reason for confusion is probably because when traveling with a rifle or shotgun where the case is the luggage, the only place to put the tag is inside the case.

I even drove from PA to NJ to fly out of Newark airport with a gun once. Another poster alluded to the case of a traveler with a firearm being arrested there a few years ago. Here's that case: http://www.anjrpc.org/fopalawsuit.htm. Because of this and other abuses at NY area airports, Congressman Don Young wrote to the TSA to get their interpretation of FOPA and received this response from the Assistant U.S. Attorney General: http://www.nraila.org/images/DOJltrTSA.pdf.

Anyway, I took my chances and didn't have any issues at the airport. However, I think it's probably so rare for travelers to declare handguns at Newark (and the TSA guy was so overly polite) that I think they assumed I was a LEO (mere mortals don't have guns in NJ, unless they're criminals!).

Another good source of info on flying with firearms is http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig10/ollam1.html. Check out the link to some entertaining videos on this topic near the bottom of the page.

MacG22
04-20-2010, 19:11
Mags should be locked in your pistol case or suitcase UNLOADED. According to TSA rules you can put loaded mags into your luggage if the open ends are covered as inserted into a belt mag holder, but I have seen airline reps who wouldn't allow it, so to be safe, travel with mags unloaded to guarantee a hassle free trip.


Ammo can be placed in your checked bag no problem. Conform with ammo box rules and the airline's rules and you'll be fine.

Again, my .02

Couldn't have said it any better, other than the one edit. Some airlines get sticky with ammo in checked bags. But in general there's no problem.

B.Reid
04-20-2010, 23:28
Mags should be locked in your pistol case or suitcase UNLOADED. According to TSA rules you can put loaded mags into your luggage if the open ends are covered as inserted into a belt mag holder, but I have seen airline reps who wouldn't allow it, so to be safe, travel with mags unloaded to guarantee a hassle free trip.


Ammo can be placed in your checked bag no problem. Conform with ammo box rules and you'll be fine.

Again, my .02
Thanks for the info, I haven't flown commercial in 20 years so things have changed a bit.

Does your bag that the guncase goes into have to be locked?

Alchemy
04-20-2010, 23:39
Do NOT do that and get caught.



Maybe someone should direct EMT1581 to this thread. Since I'm on
his ignore list and he's already started a thread in carry issues about it.
He could learn a lot from this thread.

He's flying to Florida next year for a wedding.

So if someone that is not on his ignore list could forward a message
to him about this post. It might spare us a lot of misery until next
year.

redbaronace
04-21-2010, 00:07
This is an excellent write up. Thank you for sharing.

B. CHECKING YOUR BAG AT THE AIRLINE

So you get it all packed and secured and you get to the airport. Here's where the list begins.

1. Be early. Please. If you're going to fly with the firearm, be early. I've never had it add more than 30 minutes to the whole process for me, but you want to give it even more than that in case you have to go through an extra security verification or two.

2. Go to the counter. You cannot use a skycap. You must declare with an agent. If you check in at the curb and then tell them you have a firearm, they may hustle you right to the front of the line. I've also had them get mad when I tried that and put me at the back and waste more of my time.


Special Note: I want to say this before we get to #3. The system I've worked out is very general, but it flies with almost every US airline I've flown on. In fact, I've had no problems. That's why I use original box for ammo and lock it down, etc. From airline to airline, they may have specific regs that TSA does not. TSA will let you cover your loaded mags. North West Airlines doesn't. Some want original ammo box, some don't . So instead of jumping through all the hoops for one airline or another, I just decided to get ONE system down and stick to it. So while you may be able to do some things a little different here and there--and I am not suggesting you cannot--I am only giving you my system that I've found to be less complex.

3. When I get to the counter, I pull out my driver's license, passport, copy of my itinerary (if I have it), a copy of the TSA firearm regs, and a copy of the airline's firearm regs.

I hand them to the agent and say, in a calm and slow tone, "Good morning. I'd like to declare that I will be carrying a legal firearm in my checked luggage, prepared to TSA and your airline's packing standards, and it's disassembled and ready for your inspection."

The combination of this formal and polite declaration, along with all the paperwork has been GOLD for me. Better, actually. Before there was always some hesitation or confusion on their part. But by giving them all the paperwork, by being formal and gracious, I've cut out more than 90% of the hustle I used to face while checking in. They seem to appreciate the preparedness, the organization, and the willingness for their inspection. You can say whatever you like, but I don't recommend walking up and simply saying that you have a gun (something I've seen happen before). I've just given you 100% check in gold, and if you ever do that and compare it you'll realize what great approach it is. Do as you will.

4. The agent will inspect the firearm. The more dissembled it is, the easier that will be. The more it looks like a "gun", the bigger the chance you have of a brady card carrier stalling you, arguing with you about how it's packed, etc. In general, if you have any real delays or issues, just calmly say, "Could I please have your supervisor inspect it, reference the TSA standards I provided for you, and help us all to get out of here in a timely manner?" I've only had to do that once, ever. I don't know if that's typical or lucky. But that's what led to my script and document presentation.

5. The agent IS NOT PERMITTED to mark the outside of the luggage with any sort of special tag showing there is a firearm inside. This is a big deal. This is what will keep your bag from becoming a target. If they try, just let them know that the tag must be inside of the bag. If they argue, get a supervisor. You generally won't have to fight this one, unless you're flying out of DC, San Francisco, NYC, etc.

6. At this point, they'll usually let you go. About every other time they'll take me to secondary screening which is around the corner, in a different room, etc. They'll have me unlock the case, they'll look, have me lock it back, send it through a screening machine, and that's it. Never had any problem there, and I prefer it actually because it's not being handled by the check in agents too much or anything.



C. THINGS I'VE HAD GO WRONG:

Not much to mention here, but just to give you all the info I can I'll give you my few stories.

1. Before I started disassembling the gun, I had agents pick it up, sweep me and everyone in line with the muzzle, and generally start a buzzing behind me that was followed by accusing looks when I saw these folks on the plane. Not worth it. Had all this happen a few times, and while it was a headache, it wasn't enough to discourage me from traveling with my gun--but it was enough to inspire me to just disassemble the thing when I pack it.

2. I had one female check in agent argue with me about every little thing. She was clearly a brady card carrier who said things like, "that thing", and "that deadly weapon" when she talked about the firearm. First I wasn't allowed to fly with ANY ammo. Then it was that I had to give her the combo to the lock. Then it was that I had to have a firearm tag on the outside of the luggage. It just went on and on until I got a supervisor, he got a copy of the regs, and we all went our way. That's why I take copies of the regs with me, put them in the case, and put them in the handle of the gun case after I lock it into my bag. And that's why I disassemble the gun in the case, and that's why I use a gracious and professional script.

3. One time in Denver International I was called down to a holding area after I had been at my gate for a while. They needed me to open it again and inspect. Not sure why. Took 15 minutes total, from leaving my seat at the gate to returning to that seat, and everyone was really polite and apologetic about it all. At least I knew my bag was under the plane and hadn't missed the connection.

And that's it. No other troubles.



CONCLUSION:
Feel free to add your own comments, stories, etc. You may do things very, very different and that is fine. I'm simply detailing my system and experience for those who are curious or who don't take their CCW with them when they travel because they're worried about the whole airport process. I know this system works for me, and so I have hope it will work for you as well.

It's really as simple as:
1. Secure the firearm in a locked case, according to regs.
2. Secure that locked case within your bag as possible.
3. Upon check-in properly declare your firearm and submit to inspections.

But as you know, there's always a little more to it than that. I do feel it's important to not go unarmed just because of the expectation of airport hustling. With luck, and the more of us that fly with our firearms, the easier it will become.

Best luck.

swinokur
04-21-2010, 05:07
I use the kiosks if I need. Generally I try to check in online before I get there, though.

Here's why I like to use the kiosks...

When you check in at the kiosk, you can pretty well get done by the time they come and try and take any back you have selected to check. And you can select your seat, etc, which can be nice.

If you go to the counter and you get someone who is put off by the firearm, they may not be as kind an accommodating when selecting your seat for you. I was given a middle seat one time from that story I posted in the OP and when the plane took off there were tons of other seats open.

So the kiosk isn't bad, in my experience, but by far the best way to have checked in online and printed your boarding pass at hone, IMO.

I always get a seat assignment in advance. Waiting until you get to the airport could get you bumped if the flight is overbooked. Since you have to go up to the counter anywauy to declare your firearm, I skip the kiosk and just get in line. My .02

swinokur
04-21-2010, 05:15
Does your bag that the guncase goes into have to be locked?

No, but if you want to lock, you may only use TSA approved locks if you desire to lock. TSA approved locks allow a TSA master key to open them if necessary but I have stopped using TSA approved locks as well since they seem to enjoy cutting them off instead of opening them with their key. I use a nylon wire tie to secure the outside of my luggage or nothing.You can get TSA travel locks almost anywhere these days but I refuse to waste any more money on them as TSA thinks bolt cutters are their master key.

Cochese
04-21-2010, 05:20
I suggest pasting this into your blog section, then throwing a link to it in your sig line, for easy reference.

That is what I did with the one I wrote years ago for here.

ETA: link to my write up...

http://glocktalk.com/forums/blog.php?b=22

digitalmike47
04-21-2010, 06:01
B. CHECKING YOUR BAG AT THE AIRLINE

So you get it all packed and secured and you get to the airport. Here's where the list begins.

1. Be early. Please. If you're going to fly with the firearm, be early. I've never had it add more than 30 minutes to the whole process for me, but you want to give it even more than that in case you have to go through an extra security verification or two.

2. Go to the counter. You cannot use a skycap. You must declare with an agent. If you check in at the curb and then tell them you have a firearm, they may hustle you right to the front of the line. I've also had them get mad when I tried that and put me at the back and waste more of my time.


Special Note: I want to say this before we get to #3. The system I've worked out is very general, but it flies with almost every US airline I've flown on. In fact, I've had no problems. That's why I use original box for ammo and lock it down, etc. From airline to airline, they may have specific regs that TSA does not. TSA will let you cover your loaded mags. North West Airlines doesn't. Some want original ammo box, some don't . So instead of jumping through all the hoops for one airline or another, I just decided to get ONE system down and stick to it. So while you may be able to do some things a little different here and there--and I am not suggesting you cannot--I am only giving you my system that I've found to be less complex.

3. When I get to the counter, I pull out my driver's license, passport, copy of my itinerary (if I have it), a copy of the TSA firearm regs, and a copy of the airline's firearm regs.

I hand them to the agent and say, in a calm and slow tone, "Good morning. I'd like to declare that I will be carrying a legal firearm in my checked luggage, prepared to TSA and your airline's packing standards, and it's disassembled and ready for your inspection."

The combination of this formal and polite declaration, along with all the paperwork has been GOLD for me. Better, actually. Before there was always some hesitation or confusion on their part. But by giving them all the paperwork, by being formal and gracious, I've cut out more than 90% of the hustle I used to face while checking in. They seem to appreciate the preparedness, the organization, and the willingness for their inspection. You can say whatever you like, but I don't recommend walking up and simply saying that you have a gun (something I've seen happen before). I've just given you 100% check in gold, and if you ever do that and compare it you'll realize what great approach it is. Do as you will.

4. The agent will inspect the firearm. The more dissembled it is, the easier that will be. The more it looks like a "gun", the bigger the chance you have of a brady card carrier stalling you, arguing with you about how it's packed, etc. In general, if you have any real delays or issues, just calmly say, "Could I please have your supervisor inspect it, reference the TSA standards I provided for you, and help us all to get out of here in a timely manner?" I've only had to do that once, ever. I don't know if that's typical or lucky. But that's what led to my script and document presentation.

5. The agent IS NOT PERMITTED to mark the outside of the luggage with any sort of special tag showing there is a firearm inside. This is a big deal. This is what will keep your bag from becoming a target. If they try, just let them know that the tag must be inside of the bag. If they argue, get a supervisor. You generally won't have to fight this one, unless you're flying out of DC, San Francisco, NYC, etc.

6. At this point, they'll usually let you go. About every other time they'll take me to secondary screening which is around the corner, in a different room, etc. They'll have me unlock the case, they'll look, have me lock it back, send it through a screening machine, and that's it. Never had any problem there, and I prefer it actually because it's not being handled by the check in agents too much or anything.



C. THINGS I'VE HAD GO WRONG:

Not much to mention here, but just to give you all the info I can I'll give you my few stories.

1. Before I started disassembling the gun, I had agents pick it up, sweep me and everyone in line with the muzzle, and generally start a buzzing behind me that was followed by accusing looks when I saw these folks on the plane. Not worth it. Had all this happen a few times, and while it was a headache, it wasn't enough to discourage me from traveling with my gun--but it was enough to inspire me to just disassemble the thing when I pack it.

2. I had one female check in agent argue with me about every little thing. She was clearly a brady card carrier who said things like, "that thing", and "that deadly weapon" when she talked about the firearm. First I wasn't allowed to fly with ANY ammo. Then it was that I had to give her the combo to the lock. Then it was that I had to have a firearm tag on the outside of the luggage. It just went on and on until I got a supervisor, he got a copy of the regs, and we all went our way. That's why I take copies of the regs with me, put them in the case, and put them in the handle of the gun case after I lock it into my bag. And that's why I disassemble the gun in the case, and that's why I use a gracious and professional script.

3. One time in Denver International I was called down to a holding area after I had been at my gate for a while. They needed me to open it again and inspect. Not sure why. Took 15 minutes total, from leaving my seat at the gate to returning to that seat, and everyone was really polite and apologetic about it all. At least I knew my bag was under the plane and hadn't missed the connection.

And that's it. No other troubles.



CONCLUSION:
Feel free to add your own comments, stories, etc. You may do things very, very different and that is fine. I'm simply detailing my system and experience for those who are curious or who don't take their CCW with them when they travel because they're worried about the whole airport process. I know this system works for me, and so I have hope it will work for you as well.

It's really as simple as:
1. Secure the firearm in a locked case, according to regs.
2. Secure that locked case within your bag as possible.
3. Upon check-in properly declare your firearm and submit to inspections.

But as you know, there's always a little more to it than that. I do feel it's important to not go unarmed just because of the expectation of airport hustling. With luck, and the more of us that fly with our firearms, the easier it will become.

Best luck.

Great info....thanks.

reckless45
04-21-2010, 06:33
Great info - i like the cable idea very much. Thanks!

NickV02
04-24-2010, 16:51
Do you hold the case outside of your luggage while you declare it or do you have it packed already in the suitcase and then once you declare what you have you take it out of the suitcase when they want to inspect it?

Thanks for this great writeup !!

swinokur
04-24-2010, 18:00
Do you hold the case outside of your luggage while you declare it or do you have it packed already in the suitcase and then once you declare what you have you take it out of the suitcase when they want to inspect it?

Thanks for this great writeup !!

IMO I'd be careful about this. Depending on the carry laws of the state you're in, walking up to the counter with an encased but not packed firearm may or may not be legal. The exception might be that if the firearm case was your only luggage, you'd probablt be finebut I don't travel that way.. My procedure is to pack the case in my luggage and only open the luggage after declaring the firearm to the counter rep. and following their instructions. I have had one or two occasions where the rep didn't even bother to look at the weapon before handing me the declaration to sign

I'd rather pack it and be safe rather than sorry. Again, my .02 Others may disagree.

NickV02
04-24-2010, 21:09
That's the response I assumed but just wanted to confirm. I would imagine a firearm in a case would be considered a concealed weapon so I will keep it in my suitcase.

skyparker
04-25-2010, 17:33
(This is the follow-up on my two posts made April 6th within this thread.)

Back from my Florida trip....

All went well with my departure on Allegiant Airlines declaring my Glock27 in a Pelican type case. I followed MacG22's instructions to the letter. I informed the Allegiant ticket agent that I had a firearm to declare. He simply had me sign their declaration notice. The gun case was placed in my suitcase. When the agent saw how it was secured with a cable and double locks, he only stated, "It's unloaded, right?" and left it at that.

The ticket agent then called for TSA. TSA escorted me to their bag screening area and saw how the case was secured and again I was only asked if it was unloaded. He then swabbed the interior of my suitcase and told me all was OK. There was NO interior inspection of the gun case at all.

The whole process from start to finish lasted 15min. Declaring the the firearm and doing the TSA screening probably took 10min or less.

Again, thanks to Mac for his write-up. I will have no hesitation of doing this again in the future.

(Oh, For our return trip, we had an overweight suitcase due to the wife's shopping. So, a buddy of mine brought my gun case back from FL on his private plane. And yes, it was still unloaded and double locked.)

MacG22
04-25-2010, 20:13
IMO I'd be careful about this. Depending on the carry laws of the state you're in, walking up to the counter with an encased but not packed firearm may or may not be legal. The exception might be that if the firearm case was your only luggage, you'd probablt be finebut I don't travel that way.. My procedure is to pack the case in my luggage and only open the luggage after declaring the firearm to the counter rep. and following their instructions. I have had one or two occasions where the rep didn't even bother to look at the weapon before handing me the declaration to sign

I'd rather pack it and be safe rather than sorry. Again, my .02 Others may disagree.

I agree with this. Half the time the agent at the desk won't even open your bag. They'll have you fill out the declaration tag, put it inside your bag, and that's it for them. Then you'll either be forwarded to TSA for a quick secondary or they'll put it on the belt and instruct you that if TSA needs to inspect it more further then you'll be paged.

So I wouldn't take the unnecessary step of pulling it out ahead of time. I tend to think of it like this... "will my actions make the people behind the counter more or less comfortable?" Within the regs, I always aim to make them more comfortable. It almost always makes it easier on me to do that.

MacG22
04-25-2010, 20:15
(This is the follow-up on my two posts made April 6th within this thread.)

Back from my Florida trip....

All went well with my departure on Allegiant Airlines declaring my Glock27 in a Pelican type case. I followed MacG22's instructions to the letter. I informed the Allegiant ticket agent that I had a firearm to declare. He simply had me sign their declaration notice. The gun case was placed in my suitcase. When the agent saw how it was secured with a cable and double locks, he only stated, "It's unloaded, right?" and left it at that.

The ticket agent then called for TSA. TSA escorted me to their bag screening area and saw how the case was secured and again I was only asked if it was unloaded. He then swabbed the interior of my suitcase and told me all was OK. There was NO interior inspection of the gun case at all.

The whole process from start to finish lasted 15min. Declaring the the firearm and doing the TSA screening probably took 10min or less.

Again, thanks to Mac for his write-up. I will have no hesitation of doing this again in the future.

(Oh, For our return trip, we had an overweight suitcase due to the wife's shopping. So, a buddy of mine brought my gun case back from FL on his private plane. And yes, it was still unloaded and double locked.)



Thanks for the update. I'm very glad it went well for you.

B.Reid
04-26-2010, 01:37
I am in Alaska, first time I flew with a firearm. It was really no problem at all. The truth is they took special care with my bag. Also to the poster that said the gun dealers in Alaska would not let him come within 6 feet of the counter, He must be some kind of a hole because we visited several gun shops and they were very nice. My girlfriend bought a Browning Hi Power today, it will be shipped to a dealer back home. I brought my gun mostly just to test the system and I have found it to be very easy, just follow the rules. Of course you may have more trouble flying in and out of Progressive states but why would you live there anyway?

Jon_R
04-26-2010, 22:05
I traveled today for the first time bringing a pistol with me. I took some tips from this and it went pretty smooth. I took my G19 apart and put it in the lock box. Neither the ticket agent or TSA asked me to open the box. I think the ticket agent did something wrong though as after I went through security and got to my gate the gate agent called me up to confirm I was traveling with a weapon on me. I let them know that was not the case and they said oh.... We will let the captain know. I guess I was an honorary federal LEO for about an hour. :)

I expected the issue to come back up on my connection but they didn't say anything.

mtnglocker
04-27-2010, 18:30
Here's another horror story at baggage check-in. About 20 years ago, I was an active LEO, traveling with my wife on vacation to New Orleans. I had my S&W Model 38 Airweight, unloaded and locked inside a case per instructions from the airline. No problem leaving Tampa. I told the clerk I was an off-duty LEO, and want to declare an unloaded firearm in my luggage. He said no problem, put the blue tag inside the suitcase and I was on my way.

On the way back, at the NO airport, I approached the young female clerk with the same line. She said: "take the gun out, I need to make sure its unloaded." I looked around for a security guard or police officer to assist, but none around. I took the firearm out and swung open the cylinder to show her, as discreetly as I could. See, no rounds in the cylinder. She said: "You have to make it click so I could make sure." I asked her to repeat herself.......I said fine, and pointing it down in a safe manner, I dry fired it 3 times, see its empty !!! The "clicking" noise brought over a security guard and after I explained the lunacy and lack of knowledge of the clerk, not to mention the upset people behind me, he said you're good to go, have a safe flight.

Since 9-11, and the increased firearm carrying public, I'm sure training and experience of the clerks is somewhat better. Now I just try to drive on vacation.

MacG22
04-27-2010, 20:18
Here's another horror story at baggage check-in. About 20 years ago, I was an active LEO, traveling with my wife on vacation to New Orleans. I had my S&W Model 38 Airweight, unloaded and locked inside a case per instructions from the airline. No problem leaving Tampa. I told the clerk I was an off-duty LEO, and want to declare an unloaded firearm in my luggage. He said no problem, put the blue tag inside the suitcase and I was on my way.

On the way back, at the NO airport, I approached the young female clerk with the same line. She said: "take the gun out, I need to make sure its unloaded." I looked around for a security guard or police officer to assist, but none around. I took the firearm out and swung open the cylinder to show her, as discreetly as I could. See, no rounds in the cylinder. She said: "You have to make it click so I could make sure." I asked her to repeat herself.......I said fine, and pointing it down in a safe manner, I dry fired it 3 times, see its empty !!! The "clicking" noise brought over a security guard and after I explained the lunacy and lack of knowledge of the clerk, not to mention the upset people behind me, he said you're good to go, have a safe flight.

Since 9-11, and the increased firearm carrying public, I'm sure training and experience of the clerks is somewhat better. Now I just try to drive on vacation.

:shocked:

NickV02
04-29-2010, 21:08
Mac, a huge thanks for taking the time to do that writeup. I followed your guidelines and it went very smoothly for me today.

I posted in my other thread I started about travelling to Vegas.
http://www.glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?p=15211866#post15211866

swinokur
04-30-2010, 07:00
Mac, a huge thanks for taking the time to do that writeup. I followed your guidelines and it went very smoothly for me today.

I posted in my other thread I started about travelling to Vegas.
http://www.glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?p=15211866#post15211866


+1 thanks Mac

MacG22
04-30-2010, 11:51
Mac, a huge thanks for taking the time to do that writeup. I followed your guidelines and it went very smoothly for me today.

I posted in my other thread I started about travelling to Vegas.
http://www.glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?p=15211866#post15211866

+1 thanks Mac

No problem, guys. I'm glad it was a help. I remember looking for info and writeups before I flew and didn't find much (a few years ago). It's pretty terrifying if you get to an airport and don't have any guidance. At least, it was for me the first time. But then when I realized how easy it was to fly it was it took all intensity out of it. It's really not hard to do. I don't always travel with my firearm, but when I'm working on projects where I need it I'm glad it's easy to fly with it.

DocCasualty
05-01-2010, 11:42
Thanks for this excellent thread and information, Mac. I don't fly much these days but had pretty much concluded the hassles of checking a handgun into baggage wouldn't be worth it. Clearly it is generally much more straightforward than I had assumed.

Should the need arise, I'll reconsult your thread first, then check the airlines's and TSA's sites next!

dnuggett
05-01-2010, 16:15
tagged

Timberwulf
05-03-2010, 17:49
I've had great experiences on American Airlines over the last 7 years flying multiple times a year. Pistol locked in a lunchbox sized Pelican case, clerks always just had me sign the unloaded form and set it on top of the Pelican, then wheel it over to TSA at the DFW airport, or more often at other airports they just put it on the conveyor and had me hang out for 10 minutes to make sure it cleared TSA.

Southwest was a little odd at Love Field a week ago - the ticketing agent had me open the slide to demonstrate it was unloaded. That was more reminiscent of when I used to fly with firearms around 1999-2002. On the way back to Dallas from Tucson, the ticketing agent looked horrified that the Dallas agent had had me do that, and indicated that he must not be briefed on current procedures because that's no longer their procedure.

Over the last 10 years of flying with firearms in checked baggage, it really is usually a pain-free, easy process and I've had no real troubles.

MacG22
05-03-2010, 18:22
Over the last 10 years of flying with firearms in checked baggage, it really is usually a pain-free, easy process and I've had no real troubles.

I'm really glad you wrote this. I wish everyone could read it.

badlands99
05-04-2010, 14:10
TSA is NOT allowed to have a copy of your combo or key that goes on the gun case.


First of all, tremendous amounts of appreciation heaped upon MacG22 for this information. It has emboldened me to give it a go. I'm flying tomorrow to New Orleans by way of who-knows-where and I was not looking forward to being unarmed during my stay, so... many thanks.

I was printing out the info from the TSA site and this is part of the page...

***PASTE***
We recommend that you provide the key or combination to the security officer if he or she needs to open the container. You 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. If you are not present and the security officer must open the container, we or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact you. If we can't contact you, the container will not be placed on the plane. Federal regulations prohibit unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) on aircraft.
***END PASTE***

That seems to contradict the previous idea of the traveler being the only one who is allowed to have the key/combi.

Has there been a change?


Also, I'll be traveling on some of those small regional jets and I have a carry on bag that I can't be separated from (it has all my camera gear, IE: livelihood). Do any of you have any tips on how to deal with the crew if/when they tell me I'll have to check that bag? I can't let it get into the hands of those gorillas who throw bags around.

Thanks in advance for any info you can offer on that.

swinokur
05-04-2010, 14:32
I was printing out the info from the TSA site and this is part of the page...

***PASTE***
We recommend that you provide the key or combination to the security officer if he or she needs to open the container. You 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. If you are not present and the security officer must open the container, we or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact you. If we can't contact you, the container will not be placed on the plane. Federal regulations prohibit unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) on aircraft.
***END PASTE***

That seems to contradict the previous idea of the traveler being the only one who is allowed to have the key/combi.

Has there been a change?

No but if asked to provide the combo, you can politely ask the TSA rep to give you the case so you can open it. You are obligated IMO to open it, not share the combo as that defeats TSA's rule about only you having access. I am lucky in that my Gunvaut Micro has a combo and a key. This is my opinion. Mac and others may differ.


Also, I'll be traveling on some of those small regional jets and I have a carry on bag that I can't be separated from (it has all my camera gear, IE: livelihood). Do any of you have any tips on how to deal with the crew if/when they tell me I'll have to check that bag? I can't let it get into the hands of those gorillas who throw bags around.

Thanks in advance for any info you can offer on that.

I fly on regional jets quite a bit and you will be asked to check your carry on bag at the jetway before boarding if it doesn't fit the small bins on those small jets. My carryon is 14 x 9 x 22 and it is totally legal on a regular sized plane. I always have to give it to the baggage guys before boarding. You normally get it back when you deplane. Once the airline made us go to baggage claim to get our carryons. I believe that was a screw up.

There is really no way around that. I recommend calling the airline and asking what the max size carryon size will be for the jet you will fly. This way you can hang onto it.

MacG22
05-04-2010, 14:39
First of all, tremendous amounts of appreciation heaped upon MacG22 for this information. It has emboldened me to give it a go. I'm flying tomorrow to New Orleans by way of who-knows-where and I was not looking forward to being unarmed during my stay, so... many thanks.

I was printing out the info from the TSA site and this is part of the page...

***PASTE***
We recommend that you provide the key or combination to the security officer if he or she needs to open the container. You 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. If you are not present and the security officer must open the container, we or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact you. If we can't contact you, the container will not be placed on the plane. Federal regulations prohibit unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) on aircraft.
***END PASTE***

That seems to contradict the previous idea of the traveler being the only one who is allowed to have the key/combi.

Has there been a change?


That quote is in there, but it's in the context of if you're standing right there when they go through it or if they page you back. And I usually don't hand over the key, though I've only been asked a few times. I use a combo and just say, "I apologize but the combo is my pin number and I don't hand it out. But I'd be happy to unlock the case for you." Remember the point right above it states: "A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from access by anyone other than you."

Notice they say "recommend" in terms of giving the key, but also specify that it must be reclaimed by you. Part of the law is that no other person can have access to the case other than for secondary screening. And it's extremely rare that anyone in secondary will actually unpack it in my experience. REF: "We recommend that you provide the key or combination to the security officer if he or she needs to open the container. You 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."

Never been an issue, for me. Their primary regs say that you can be the only one who has access. If I'm looking right at someone, I really don't mind handing a key if I see it the whole time. If it's going where I cannot follow, I'll be firm and polite that I must be the only one with access.

EDIT: Just read that Swinokur beat me to it. He's right on, once again, IMO.

racer88
05-07-2010, 03:22
OK, folks... My turn. I'm going to give a play-by-play account. I'm sitting in Palm Beach International airport (at the gate now). I did my homework, including reading this thread.

I arrived early - about 2 hours before my flight. Turns out that was a bit of overkill. But, now I have time to write this! :) Got to the ticket age, and told him, "I need to declare a firearm, which is packed to TSA standards." He said, "you're traveling with a firearm?" Yes.

He then dug around a very messy drawer to find the form. It's not really a form... more of a tag. Put my flight number on it. And, then I signed it. It was labeled "Unloaded Firearm" and was bright orange in color.

He then asked me to open the gun case, which I did. I got a Pelican 1400 and set it up to pack my G27 disassembled. He took one look and said, "OK. Lock it up." I've got two padlocks - one over each latch. Then I've got a Masterlock cable that runs through the locks and around the suitcase frame. I also put a TSA lock on the softside suitcase, for whatever that's worth.

Next he called a skycap who then escorted me and the suitcase downstairs. It did NOT go on the conveyor belt. The skycap took me to the door that connects the luggage claim area and where the actual airport luggage handling area is. Apparently that's where the TSA screeners are. The skycap told me to wait there, and he would come back and let me know if we got the "thumbs up." I waited for about 5 minutes. And, then he came back to tell me "OK you're ready to go. Enjoy your flight." Tipped him a fiver.

Whole process took about 15 minutes.

I'm flying to Little Rock, AR for a wedding this weekend. Turning around on Sunday to return to S. Florida. I'll post my experience departing Little Rock then.

So far, so good! Thanks to MacG22 for putting all this together.

racer88
05-07-2010, 12:52
Arrived in Little Rock.

Luggage arrived, as well. Perhaps not so interestingly, the stupid "TSA-approved" lock was missing off my suitcase. WTF is up with that? They SAY you can use those locks (as crappy as they are). They SAY they have a master key. But, it is apparent through the stories I've read here, AND now my own experience, that the "TSA-approved" locks are just a way to throw away money. They just cut it off. It's gone. Niiice.

My gun arrived intact, and it is now "at home" on my hip, where it belongs.... especially in Little Rock. I'm right downtown. I believe Little Rock has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country. Go figure.

When I get a chance, I'll post photos of how I packed my gun.

And, I'll also post how my return trip went. But, I will say this much at this point... EVERYONE should travel with a gun and exercise their rights. The more of us that do this, the more routine (and trouble-free) this will become. I thought it was odd that I had to walk all the way "downstairs" to get my bag inspected (out of my sight... but gun case was locked and I had the key).

If a LOT of people traveled with firearms, I would imagine they'd have to streamline the process as it becomes more mainstream.

OK, guys... if you're traveling to a place where your CCW is recognized, bring your EDC! I am now so committed to exercising my rights that I feel I would be DERELICT in my "duties" to myself and my family to NOT protect myself. Furthermore, I feel it's my patriotic imperative. As an American who believes the Constitution is sacrosanct and that my right to self-defense is "God-given" or "Natural," I MUST make protecting myself as habitual as putting my pants on in the morning.

Who's with me??? :D



Staying right downtown, which is not the most savory of areas.

swinokur
05-07-2010, 13:10
Arrived in Little Rock.

Luggage arrived, as well. Perhaps not so interestingly, the stupid "TSA-approved" lock was missing off my suitcase. WTF is up with that? They SAY you can use those locks (as crappy as they are). They SAY they have a master key. But, it is apparent through the stories I've read here, AND now my own experience, that the "TSA-approved" locks are just a way to throw away money. They just cut it off. It's gone. Niiice.

Welcome to my world Racer. After about the fourth occurance of the TSA goons cutting my TSA approved locks off my bag, I gave up. I either use a nylon wire tie or nothing. That's why the procedure of cabling your gun case to your luggage is so important.

TSA's master keys are bolt cutters now. Complaining about these clowns is a total waste of time

TSA is a complete and total farce. Security theater. They can hassle you all day about too much shampoo or deodorant, while the real terrrorists with real bombs get overlooked.

I agree with you on carry. A right unexercised is a right lost, especially with the current regime in DC. It's going to get to the point where I won't travel to a place I can't carry, other than for work destinations.

Janet Nepolitano is not qualified to be in charge of the Keystone Cops. What a total joke this whole thing is. This is the same govt that wants to giive me health care? No thanks.

God Help Us. Am I allowed to say God?

Jon_R
05-07-2010, 13:49
If a LOT of people traveled with firearms, I would imagine they'd have to streamline the process as it becomes more mainstream.

OK, guys... if you're traveling to a place where your CCW is recognized, bring your EDC! I am now so committed to exercising my rights that I feel I would be DERELICT in my "duties" to myself and my family to NOT protect myself. Furthermore, I feel it's my patriotic imperative. As an American who believes the Constitution is sacrosanct and that my right to self-defense is "God-given" or "Natural," I MUST make protecting myself as habitual as putting my pants on in the morning.

Who's with me??? :D


I will probably travel with my pistol all the time unless traveling somewhere I can't have it like NY the best I can tell would be a no-no for me.

I am taking a car trip from FL to Ill and Missouri then back to FL. I will bring it with me in the car just need to check what I need to do in Ill. :(

racer88
05-09-2010, 10:21
Update... Just checked in at Little Rock airport. Could not have been easier or hassle-free. No big deal at all. The folks here treated it as very routine. Thumbs up to Little Rock National Airport!

racer88
05-09-2010, 20:38
Update... Made it home. Nothing missing.

Conclusion: Confirmed my earlier assertion, which is that traveling with firearms is actually quite easy. And, I stand firm in my new belief that we should ALL commit to exercising our rights in every state that recognizes our licenses to carry concealed as we travel around the country.

Z1232K
05-09-2010, 20:55
Nice write up! :thumbsup:

Doc Mac
05-29-2010, 08:01
I've flown in and out of Newark Int. on about a dozen occasions with a pistol. As the OP states, knowing the laws and the airline requirements are imperative. I have yet to encounter a problem with TSA or airline staff. I travel to the airport from PA, with the firearm, cased, and locked, inside hardsided, locked luggage. Politeness, and a low key, matter of fact attitude seem to work well with those I come in contact with at the airport. I would encourage anyone to fly with a firearm if it is legal for you to do so. Rights that go unexercised tend to atrophy.

racer88
06-04-2010, 22:13
Finally got around to posting photos of how I packed my G27 for travel.

In the first photo, you can see how I packed the G27 disassembled.

In the second photo, I demonstrate how I secured the Pelican case to my luggage. Also used two identically-keyed padlocks to lock the pelican case. Note that the cable lock passes through both padlocks instead of the plastic handle.

sks man
06-05-2010, 04:46
Finally got around to posting photos of how I packed my G27 for travel.

In the first photo, you can see how I packed the G27 disassembled.

In the second photo, I demonstrate how I secured the Pelican case to my luggage. Also used two identically-keyed padlocks to lock the pelican case.

What model Pelican case is that?

racer88
06-05-2010, 12:35
It's a Pelican 1400. About $80 on Amazon.com.

You may see that it's deep enough to place my G27 magazines, barrel, guide rod, and frame "vertically," saving some "real estate." On the upper left side, you can see my Spyderco Caly 3, too. Here's a sharper photo (the other was a bit fuzzy).

I figure packing the pistol in a field-stripped condition will just make things go that much smoother at the airport.

Hope that helps! :)

hikerpaddler
06-06-2010, 07:16
Stock glock box secured with stock glock cable lock. This is stored inside my suitcase. Many many trips, never a problem. I only use aftermarket cases for long guns or training guns.

I_Win40
06-28-2010, 19:25
Tagged Thanks :wavey:

Tony999
07-25-2010, 12:54
Tagged,
Great Information

DrBob
07-25-2010, 16:25
According to the TSA website, it looks like you have to give them the key or combination...

The passenger must provide the key or combination to the screener if it is necessary to open the container, and then remain present during screening to take back possession of the key after the container is cleared.

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1188.shtm

at another location on the same website, they recommend that the passenger provide the key or combination.

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1666.shtm

but 45 CFR 1540.111 says that
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.



Read more: http://cfr.vlex.com/vid/111-carriage-weapons-explosives-incendiaries-19951106#ixzz0ujlYhRsT

You'd better carry a copy of the federal regulations in addition to the TSA and Airline rules since ther is some lack of consistency here...

racer88
07-25-2010, 16:39
According to the TSA website, it looks like you have to give them the key or combination...

The passenger must provide the key or combination to the screener if it is necessary to open the container, and then remain present during screening to take back possession of the key after the container is cleared.

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1188.shtm

And remain PRESENT.

Half-Breed
07-25-2010, 17:11
-----

SlowMo
07-29-2010, 11:52
Just returned from my trip.

I had it locked just as the OP described. The only comment I got was..."Did you use enough locks?" (I had one on each side of the case and the cable lock)

It took about 10 extra min each way. Even had to stand in line at the TSA area to wait on others traveling with firearms. I asked and they said it was pretty common for people to fly with them.

Delta airlines: Awesome
Atlanta airport: Awesome
Pittsburgh airport: Awesome

Made this very easy.

GenX
08-02-2010, 21:22
Having to take an emergency flight and I've taken a lot of great information from this thread. My only question is, my surefire flashlight and two batteries. Was planning on putting the flashlight in the hardcase, but what should be done with the batteries? Tape the ends and put in a ziploc?

MacG22
08-08-2010, 10:05
Having to take an emergency flight and I've taken a lot of great information from this thread. My only question is, my surefire flashlight and two batteries. Was planning on putting the flashlight in the hardcase, but what should be done with the batteries? Tape the ends and put in a ziploc?

Caught this a little late. I really don't know what to do about it. Never thought it to be much of a problem.

Let me know how it goes for you and what you did.

swinokur
08-08-2010, 17:41
Caught this a little late. I really don't know what to do about it. Never thought it to be much of a problem.

Let me know how it goes for you and what you did.

IIRC lithium batteries are OK in the device in your carry on. Verboten in checked bags. will try too get a cite however.

swinokur
08-08-2010, 18:01
From TSA

As of January 1, 2008, the Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) no longer allows loose lithium batteries in checked baggage.

Learn more at http://safetravel.dot.gov/whats_new_batteries.ht (http://safetravel.dot.gov/whats_new_batteries.html)



Keep batteries and equipment with you, or in carry-on baggage - not in your checked baggage! In the cabin, flight crew can better monitor conditions, and have access to the batteries or device if a fire does occur.
Buy batteries from reputable sources and only use batteries approved for your device avoid counterfeits! A counterfeit battery is more likely to cause a fire in your equipment costing you more in the long run, and compromising safety.
Look for the mark of an independent testing or standards organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
Do not carry recalled or damaged batteries on aircraft. Check battery recall information at the manufacturer's website, or at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (http://www.cpsc.gov/).
Only charge batteries which you are sure are rechargeable! Non-rechargeable batteries are not designed for recharging, and become hazardous if placed in a battery charger. A non-rechargeable battery placed in a charger may overheat or cause damage later.
Only use a charger compatible with your rechargeable battery dont mix and match!
If original packaging is not available for spare batteries, effectively insulate battery terminals by isolating the batteries from contact with other batteries and metal. Do not permit a loose battery to come in contact with metal objects, such as coins, keys, or jewelry.
Place each battery in its own protective case, plastic bag, or package, or place tape across the battery's contacts to isolate terminals. Isolating terminals prevents short-circuiting.
Take steps to prevent crushing, puncturing, or putting a high degree of pressure on the battery, as this can cause an internal short-circuit, resulting in overheating.
If you must carry a battery-powered device in any baggage, package it to prevent inadvertent activation. For instance, you should pack a cordless power tool in a protective case, with a trigger lock engaged. If there is an on-off switch or a safety switch, tape it in the "off" position.

Lithium Batteries: Safety and Security

http://www.tsa.gov/graphics/images/batteries.jpgLithium-ion batteries, often found in laptop computers, differ from primary lithium batteries, which are often used in cameras. Some newer AA-size batteries are also primary lithium.
While there is no explosion hazard associated with either kind of battery, the Federal Aviation Administration has studied fire hazards associated with both primary and lithium-ion cells, and their extensive research is publicly available (http://www.fire.tc.faa.gov/). As a result of this research, the FAA no longer allows large, palletized shipments of these batteries to be transported as cargo on passenger aircraft.
The research also shows that an explosion will not result from shorting or damaging either lithium-ion or primary lithium batteries. Both are, however, extremely flammable. Primary lithium batteries cannot be extinguished with firefighting agents normally carried on aircraft, whereas lithium-ion batteries are easily extinguished by most common extinguishing agents, including those carried on board commercial aircraft.
TSA has and will continue to work closely with the FAA on potential aviation safety and security issues, and TSA security officers are thoroughly and continually trained to find explosive threats (http://www.tsa.gov/press/where_we_stand/training.shtm). TSA does not have plans to change security regulations for electronic devices powered by lithium batteries.

Palouse
08-16-2010, 18:14
I wish I'd seen this prior to my flight to TN this last June. I was so nervous I almost wet myself. My wife was dead set against me taking the pistol in the first place, and we had our three, young kids with us. She was sure I was going to spend time in Walla Walla at worst or miss our flight at best.

We flew on Frontier, and no Frontier agent ever looked at my pistol. Flying out of Spokane, though, a TSA agent escorted me to a small room, inspected the pistol, packed the bag, and I was on my way. I did not have ammunition with me.

That having gone so well, I wasn't nearly as nervous at Nashville, but my brother had driven us to the airport, and I made him wait with us until I knew everything was OK. However, I waited probably 45 minutes for a TSA agent to escort me to a little room. I kept waiting and waiting for a TSA agent to show up and inspect my pistol, but no one ever did. I finally went to ask about my pistol. The agents were backed up dealing with other customers, so I got the attention of a TSA agent. When I asked about the inspection, he said they only inspect if they see anything funny in the scan and that my bag was already headed for the plane.

So other than the ulcer and the 45 minute wait, it was pretty uneventful.

ayz
08-24-2010, 09:57
anyone every get told they can't use the stock glock cases? i'm flying from ATL to Chicago and am not sure if i should run out and get a pelican case, or just save the money and a large padlock on the handle + the glock wire lock should suffice

swinokur
08-24-2010, 10:12
anyone every get told they can't use the stock glock cases? i'm flying from ATL to Chicago and am not sure if i should run out and get a pelican case, or just save the money and a large padlock on the handle + the glock wire lock should suffice
From TSA web site



The firearm must be in a hard-sided container.
The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from access by anyone other than you. Cases that can be pulled open with little effort do not meet this criterion. The pictures provided here illustrate the difference between a properly packaged and an improperly packaged firearm.

The Glock case meets these criteria. Take a copy of the TSA regs with you. I think Mac recommended this in his post.

Landman
08-24-2010, 12:54
I have used one of the Glock Cases that locks without a problem. They look just like the regular Glock case except have a locking mechanism in it. I buy them from Glockmeister.

Blacknite29
08-24-2010, 13:12
Tagged for infomation

takeanumbr
09-13-2010, 12:11
Just wanted to give my recent flying exprience out of Will Rogers World Airport OKC flying Frontier Airlines, then returning from Denver International Airport flying United Airlines.
I packed my pistol per Mac's guide, using a Gun Vault Nano case secured by the cable tied through the suitcase's interior portion of the handle. The suitcase was a hardsided Samsonite, purchased specifically for carrying my pistol. It featured a mounted TSA lock on the outside of the suitcase.
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j317/takeanumbr/UnloadedFirearm2.jpg

At the start of my trip, I went directly to the Will Rogers ticket counter, I used Mac's declaration statement just as he wrote it, and before I could get it all out, the ticket counter babe interupted me, saying," I'm not going to inspect it! It is unloaded isn't it?" In which I responded yes. She had me sign a red tag declaring it was unloaded, and was instructed to put insided the suitcase. So Will Rogers went smooth as a babies butt.
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j317/takeanumbr/scan0001-1.jpg

On my return flight leaving DIA, I packed identical, said the identical statement, and before I could get my entire speil out, was interupted with,"TSA escort!" Meaning, a TSA employee had to escort me to another room with a screener machine and several TSA employees, where my luggage was screened with the machine but not opened, asked me if it the pistol was in a hardsided, locked case, then was given the "I'm finished" look from TSA, and the TSA escort took my suitcase back to United, and directed me to the TSA passenger screening area.

Soooo, wasn't a bad experience like I had imagined in my mind leading up to the flight. I will fly with my firearm without to much concern in the future.

I want to thank this forum, and especially this post for an accurate guide for firearm travel.

swinokur
09-13-2010, 12:22
Great report. Mac nailed it. I think many folks think it's complicated. pretty easy if you follow the rules. Glad your trip was uneventful

Bill Lumberg
09-20-2010, 10:05
A stock glock case and stock glock cable lock are all you need.

anyone every get told they can't use the stock glock cases? i'm flying from ATL to Chicago and am not sure if i should run out and get a pelican case, or just save the money and a large padlock on the handle + the glock wire lock should suffice

steveksux
10-10-2010, 19:37
Any advice if you have a connection/layover in NYC? Are you out of luck? Do their ammo restrictions (HP, mag capacity) affect you, or are you covered by fed laws regarding travel through where you're legal at the endpoints?

Heard rumors of ugly stuff in NYC when people get layovers, or flight problems keep them stranded overnight...

Randy

GoingQuiet
10-10-2010, 19:48
Hi Mac, great post. I've flown with firearms without the regs printed and everyone was friendly and co-operative. Even in California of all places! Nobody has ever asked me to open the bag and inspect however. It was declare, sign and I was on my way.

Also, I have to toot my own horn here. I own a submachinegun and it is rather tough to travel with submachineguns as there are a lack of TSA legal hard cases for them. One of my new product lines features a hard case with custom cut foam. If you are a frequent flyer with firearm - this might interest you.

Here's my case.

http://www.goingquiet.com/GunbrokerPhotos/UziCaseMark2b.JPG

I'm going to be doing them custom - you can have your gun, slots for mags, two guns, cutouts for ammo boxes, etc - all in hard foam cut on an CNC router.

swinokur
10-10-2010, 20:20
Any advice if you have a connection/layover in NYC? Are you out of luck? Do their ammo restrictions (HP, mag capacity) affect you, or are you covered by fed laws regarding travel through where you're legal at the endpoints?

Heard rumors of ugly stuff in NYC when people get layovers, or flight problems keep them stranded overnight...

Randy

DO NOT i repeat DO NOT take possession of your suitcase containing the firearm during your layover. Make arrangements with the airline to secure it. A court case in the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals denied the appeal of a traveler found guilt of weapons possession in NJ because the defendant "had access " to the luggage when he went to a hotel for an unscheduled layover and therefore could not claim FOPA protection The court denied the appeal only on the grounds of his "having access" to the firearm in violation of FOPA. I read from this is that it's OK to travel in NY with a firearm but if you layover don't "have access" to the firearm. I'd pack overnight clothes and put them in your carry on and make arrangements with the airline to secure your luggage overnight.

Link to appeal:

http://www.morelaw.com/verdicts/case.asp?n=09-2029&s=NJ&d=43309

MacG22
10-11-2010, 02:09
DO NOT i repeat DO NOT take possession of your suitcase containing the firearm during your layover. Make arrangements with the airline to secure it. A court case in the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals denied the appeal of a traveler found guilt of weapons possession in NJ because the defendant "had access " to the luggage when he went to a hotel for an unscheduled layover and therefore could not claim FOPA protection The court denied the appeal only on the grounds of his "having access" to the firearm in violation of FOPA. I read from this is that it's OK to travel in NY with a firearm but if you layover don't "have access" to the firearm. I'd pack overnight clothes and put them in your carry on and make arrangements with the airline to secure your luggage overnight.

Link to appeal:

http://www.morelaw.com/verdicts/case.asp?n=09-2029&s=NJ&d=43309

That is an excellent read, in terms of available information. And it does directly refute (at least in part) what the BATF agent communicated to me on the phone. Granted, part of their comments to were recent, and this case began quite a while ago. But it's still a VERY compelling read. Out of the public court documents for that case, referenced by the link above, it states:

"Although we conclude that Revell fell outside of 926As protection during his stay in New Jersey, we recognize that he had been placed in a difficult predicament through no fault of his own. However, Section 926 clearly requires the traveler to part ways with his weapon and ammunition during travel; it does not address this type of interrupted journey or what the traveler is to do in this situation. Stranded gun owners like Revell have the option of going to law enforcement representatives at an airport or to airport personnel before they retrieve their luggage. The careful owner will do so and explain his situation, requesting that his firearm and ammunition be held for him overnight.18 While this no doubt adds to the inconvenience imposed upon the unfortunate traveler when his transportation plans go awry, it offers a reasonable means for a responsible gun owner to maintain the protection of Section 926 and prevent unexpected exposure to state and local gun regulations.

swinokur
10-11-2010, 07:35
Mac, I'm guessing BATFE agents don't keep up with case law. Although a ruling in the 3rd circuit only affects courts in that circuit, many Federal courts are loathe to issue differing opinions in similar cases. NJ and NY seem to be the most unfriendly to gun owners even when they try to comply. Because of their aggressive actions and the ruling from the 3rd circuit, I would recommend that anyone stuck in a city during a layover, accidental or not, store their weapon in compliance with this ruling. I have not had to do this but I'm guessing either the airline or perhaps a Skycap or someone else can make arrangements for overnight storage

Seems like an easy way to avoid a huge and expensive hassle.

iRenegade
10-11-2010, 07:45
How were people's experiences in JFK and LaGuardia? And with what airlines. I've never flown anywhere with my firearm, but am not so hesitant after reading this thread. My main concern is having the gun stolen from my luggage.

swinokur
10-11-2010, 08:17
From my reading NYC is not much better than NJ in aggressive enforcement. If you fly into NYC or NJ, better off leaving your bag at the airport if laying over. Under no circumstances would I stay in either state while in possession of a firearm


As has been recommended, cable lock your pistol case inside your suitcase. Minimizes the chance of theft

MacG22
10-11-2010, 11:46
I agree Swinokur. Wise gun owners will stay within the bounds of recent caselaw wherever possible, no matter how "unjust" some may feel it is.

I've flown through NY/NJ plenty and never had an issue, but I've never missed a connection or anything.

I've done a bit of reading and calling this morning to research what I would do in this situation, based upon this case, specifically in the NY/NJ airport system. Based upon that case, here's how I will respond when flying through there and facing an unexpected layover. Your mileage may vary, but this is what I'll do:

1. I always fly with the case locked and locked into the spine of the bag as shown in this thread. For me, that's must, but even moreso if you're flying through a city where, in the event of a disruption, you should not take control of your bag.

2. As soon as I find out that that my flight is delayed, and before I take control of my bag, I'll find out if there is overnight storage for bags. If so, I'll do what needs to be done to secure it the storage, either with the airline themselves or etc.

3. I'll notify an officer (preferably TSA but second best would be NY/NJ PA) of the problem I'm facing, the laws I am bound by (with copies of the firearm law that says I can trasport to where I'm going and etc), and ask if the officer would transport the bag for me to storage. I think showing sensitivity to not "taking possession", even if you are entitled to in the airport, is good thing here. Plus, you have a formal witness that you didn't take the bag out of the airport, but instead left it in storage. Based upon the reasoning in the case, this should satisfy the "reasonable" test of what you should do to not take possession.

4. I would then record the officer's name, etc, and make some sort of formal log of when my flight was canceled, where the bag was stored, and who assisted me at the airport (including employees of the airline).

5. Then I'm done. Based upon my calls today to both airports, a conversation with TSA, and a followup call placed to NY BATFE, they all commented in my conversations with them that this would be more than sufficient to satisfy an "avoiding all appearances of evil" test according to their responsibilities and how they interact with the law.

Keep in mind your backup plan. If your destination isn't far, or if you can get a flight out of a new airport and DON'T want to stay in NYC for a night, then rent a car, put the back in the trunk, and drive out of the state to a place that recognizes your permit or etc. Plus, the laws were really written most for people driving through a place.


By the way, I'm not very intimidated by this new set of protocols for myself. I've flown through NY/NJ dozens of times and never had a problem. And if it did occur, these new protocols will likely cost me a bit of time but probably not much more, especially if you are assisted by TSA (who according to my conversation with them today would likely be more than willing to take and store the bag for you at the airport).

And the worst of the worst case? Just stay in the airport that night. It's uncomfortable, but people do it all the time. And a minor inconvenience when you consider what it's worth to be able to defend yourself while you travel.

swinokur
10-11-2010, 12:02
Mac, my concern is with neither TSA or BATFE. IMO It's the local police who are the issue here. They are the ones most likely to detain or arrest you. I think it would be prudent to check with The Port Authority Police and NYPD to get their opinion. Maybe even the state guys as well.

My plan is to never ever fly through or visit NY or NJ. I can spend my money elsewhere. Luckily work travel doesn't take me there.

swinokur
10-19-2010, 08:12
There have been several posts asking if TSA employees can handle your firearm. The answer according to the quoted text below in NO. The NRA page I'm posting is not law, but it states what TSA's policy is, according to the Director in 2006. I think this would be sufficient to use as documentation in the event of an issue. It certainly may force to TSA to actually publish the policy. I am guessing the airlines' have a similar policy.



In order to help NRA Members navigate their way through the nation’s airports with the least amount of trouble, we asked TSA’s Michael J. Restovich key questions about traveling with firearms and ammunition.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on America, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was formed to ensure that every possible step is taken to prevent the use of a commercial airliner as a terrorist weapon. As part of its responsibility to keep the nation’s air traffic system safe and efficient, TSA has the immense duty of screening every single passenger. In that capacity, shooters and hunters traveling with firearms must interact with TSA airport personnel.

Every day, thousands of screenings involving air travelers transporting firearms occur without incident, but because there has been concern and, in some cases, dissatisfaction, TSA has sought the assistance of America’s law-abiding gun owners. Working together, NRA and its members can offer suggestions on how TSA might streamline its procedures, and at the same time we can provide a huge boost in public awareness of this vital security operation. By understanding the rules and procedures that must be followed when traveling with firearms and ammunition, we can avoid delays and other potential problems. To provide NRA members with the best answers concerning recurring firearms-related air-travel questions, we sat down with Michael J. Restovich, Assistant Administrator, TSA Office of Security Operations.

NRA: Many gun owners become frustrated when traveling with firearms. It seems that every time you go to check in a firearm at an airline baggage counter, the rules have changed. What can travelers do to get through this process as smoothly as possible?

TSA: The Federal regulations for transporting firearms and ammunition are actually the same as they were before 9/11/2001. However, the screening process for passengers and checked baggage has changed substantially.

The perception that rules have changed is likely due to varying airline requirements as well as differing airport screening-equipment configurations.

The passenger traveling with firearms can greatly reduce potential problems by knowing the rules and being prepared upon arrival at the airport. Passengers need to know not only what the TSA requirements are, but the airlines’ requirements and also local/state laws at their destination.

NRA: May a gun owner pack ammunition in the same piece of luggage as a firearm? TSA regulations seem to allow it, but many airlines say “no.”

TSA: Yes. Firearms and ammunition may be packed together in the same locked, hard-sided case, provided a few simple rules are followed (see below for ammunition-packing instructions). The number of firearms and amount of ammunition allowed on individual airlines varies widely. It is highly advisable to check with the airlines ahead of time and have a copy of their policy with you. The hard copy of the policy you produce at the ticket counter will usually settle most issues. If not, ask for a supervisor.

NRA: How does ammunition have to be packaged? TSA guidelines say ammunition has to be in “fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition,” but a lot of airlines seem to insist on “factory boxes.” Naturally, this creates problems for handloaders or people who use custom-loaded ammo.

TSA: The packaging for ammunition must be either original packaging or containers designed specifically for ammunition. Plastic ammunition boxes popular with reloaders are acceptable, as well as paper or fiber boxes.

Ammunition may be loaded in clips or magazines as long as they are properly secured in a pouch or enclosure designed to secure clips or magazines.

NRA: Why does TSA confiscate items that obviously aren’t real firearms or ammunition, such as “silver bullet” key chains or even lapel pins and tie tacks in the shape of miniature firearms?

TSA: Replicas are prohibited through the checkpoint, but upon discovery in screening, we encourage the passenger to do one of three things: return to their airline and check the item in their checked baggage, return the item to their car, or mail it back to themselves (if the airport has a mail-back program).

If none of those is feasible, the least preferred option is to voluntarily surrender it to TSA. The only exception is if a law has been broken, then the item is turned over to local law enforcement.

The problem with “silver bullet” key fob-type items is the burden they place on our system. Our number one priority is security. Realistic replica items are prohibited because they could be mistaken by unknowing passengers or crew members as a real item and lead to an unnecessary situation in the secure area of an airport or in the cabin of an aircraft. Also there is the risk that terrorists could carry what seems to be a replica but is actually part of a dangerous weapon.

Obvious non-threat items such as tie tacks in the shape of firearms are now permitted. However, TSA has found small, very real, handguns attached to belt buckles and even one stuffed inside a child’s teddy bear. Every item must be scrutinized very carefully and that detracts from overall security by reducing our efficiency. If there is any question as to whether the replica will be confiscated then we encourage you to pack it in checked baggage.

NRA: Are TSA employees trained in the legalities of transporting firearms and ammunition?

TSA: Yes, part of the 120 hours of classroom and on the job training our TSA personnel receive includes regulations regarding the identification of and processing of firearms in checked bags.

NRA: Are TSA employees trained in the proper ways to handle and inspect checked firearms?

TSA: No. In fact, they are specifically prohibited from handling firearms.

Should there be an occasion requiring the handling of a firearm, a law enforcement officer is called to handle the firearm.

NRA: Do airlines consult TSA regarding the airlines’ rules on transporting firearms and ammunition?

TSA: No. Each individual airline determines if, when, and how firearms and ammunition or any other item is allowed aboard their aircraft for transport.

Federal law and regulations simply provide guidelines and specific requirements if the airlines choose to allow firearms and ammunition to be transported.

NRA: Has there been discussion between TSA and the airline industry in regard to standardizing gun/ammunition transport rules and regulations?

TSA: TSA is in discussions with airline industry trade associations to address a number of these issues. The dialogue is geared to developing uniform standards to include the number of firearms permitted in checked bags, the amount of ammunition (in pounds), firearms declaration procedures, declaration tag format, etc.

NRA: Does TSA have any involvement in educating ticketing agents about regulations and/or procedures governing transport of firearms and ammunition?

TSA: Yes. However, it is usually on a case-by-case basis. Typically, a complaint is received from an individual that will cause us to review procedures with the airlines. We then determine if it is an airline or TSA issue. We then make a determination if the issue is a local or national issue and take corrective action as required.

NRA: Do air travelers specifically and separately need to declare both firearms and ammunition? In addition to inspection of firearms, does TSA make any effort to inspect ammunition in checked baggage?

TSA: Only firearms are required to be declared. If TSA has a security concern with a checked bag and we discover improperly packed ammunition we will remove the loose or improperly packed ammunition and turn it over to the airline for disposal.

NRA: When a disagreement arises between a traveler and TSA personnel, what is the correct protocol for on-site resolution? In such cases would it be helpful for traveling sportsmen to carry a printed copy of TSA firearms/ammunition regulations?

TSA: It is very helpful to have firearms and ammunition information from http://www.tsa.gov (http://www.tsa.gov/), as well as the airline’s policy. Should a problem occur, calmly explain the situation to the TSA officer (with policy in hand). If this fails, remain calm and ask to speak with a TSA supervisor. We always try to balance security and customer service, but we realize our officers may not always respond correctly. Any time passengers feel they have been treated improperly or their baggage was mishandled by our personnel we want to know about it.

Passengers may call our customer service number at 1-866-289- 9673 or E-mail our contact center at TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov.

TSA is always looking to improve both security and customer service.

NRA: How are TSA firearms/ammunition regulations formulated? What provision is there in the law to change such regulations?

TSA: With the creation of TSA in November 2001, responsibility for many of the regulations for transportation of firearms and ammunition were transferred from the FAA to TSA. There have been no actual regulation changes, however, TSA has sought to clarify ambiguities and apply the commonsense test to some of the rules. Our clarification of the original packaging requirement for ammunition is just one example.

NRA: How are TSA employees instructed to deal with travelers who accidentally enter security screening detectors carrying firearms or ammunition on their persons or in carry-on luggage? What are the penalties for doing so?

TSA: There’s a wide range of procedures TSA has to follow, depending on the circumstances. The most serious occurs when someone brings a loaded handgun to one of our passenger security checkpoints. Once the passenger steps through the metal detector, or places their carry-on baggage on the x-ray belt at our checkpoint, they have presented themselves for screening and TSA has to complete the screening process. If a firearm is detected either on the passenger or in his carry-on items, TSA will engage local law enforcement officers. Aside from possible criminal charges brought forth by law enforcement, TSA has the ability to impose civil case proceedings with fines ranging up to $10,000. While virtually all of the firearms discovered at our checkpoints are believed to be simple mistakes, it is impossible for us to make that determination.

TSA personnel must be alert to the possibility of someone testing our system or a passenger unknowingly being used by others to introduce a firearm or other device into our secure areas.

Loose rounds of ammunition also can pose an issue at the checkpoint and delay the passenger. An individual with ammunition at the checkpoint may simply receive a warning letter or the incident may result in fines.

Improperly packed firearms and ammunition in luggage may also pose an issue. When such an incident occurs, the passenger is called back to the checked baggage screening point and asked to secure the improperly packed item. We recommend allowing extra time for the firearm to be screened so that the passenger can be made aware of any potential issues should they arise.

Improperly packaged ammunition often ends up being surrendered.

NRA: Is there a toll-free number or website air travelers can call or access to report suspected security violations? What about a toll-free number or website where air travelers can file complaints or offer suggestions about TSA procedures and personnel?

TSA: If you would like to pass on any positive feedback or concerns to TSA regarding your experience you should contact a screener supervisor at the airport.

You may also contact the TSA Contact Center toll-free at 1-866-289-9673 or you may also E-mail us at TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) takes all input very seriously and will respond promptly and appropriately to all complaints or comments. Please visit our website at www.TSA.gov (http://www.tsa.gov/).

Copyright 2010, National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action.
This may be reproduced. It may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.
11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 800-392-8683
Contact Us | Privacy & Security Policy
Link: http://www.nraila.org/Issues (http://www.nraila.org/Issues/Articles/Read.aspx?id=204&issue=023)

NOTE: TSA only allows loaded magazines if the open end is covered as in placing the open end into a mag pouch. Check with your airline. Some won't even if TSA says it's ok
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racer88
11-07-2010, 14:13
OK.... I've done this twice now. Two round trips = four experiences checking a firearm.

Palm Beach --> Little Rock via Delta: Delta agent put the firearms declaration tag INSIDE my locked Pelican case (which is cable-locked to the frame inside soft-sided suitcase). Then I had to take my luggage (with an escort) to a special TSA security checkpoint.

Little Rock --> Palm Beach via Delta: Ticket agent also put declaration tag INSIDE locked Pelican case. But, then luggage went on conveyor belt.


Palm Beach --> Tampa via Southwest: Ticket agent TAPED declaration tag on the OUTSIDE of my locked Pelican case.

Tampa --> Palm Beach via Southwest: Ticket agent insisted that declaration tag simply go inside softsided luggage (anywhere) rather than taped to the outside of Pelican case or inside Pelican case. Then I had to be escorted (along with another guy declaring a firearm) to a separate TSA checkpoint. We stood there while they scanned our suitcases and then were told we were good to go.

OK... It seems to me that there would logically be some CONSISTENCY to this process. So far, all four experiences were DIFFERENT.

I also believe it seems rather illogical to put the declaration tag INSIDE the locked gun case. Nobody will ever see it, except ME when I get to my destination. The one time the ticket agent taped it the outside of the gun case made the most sense to me. And, even at the same airport (Palm Beach), one time I was escorted to a TSA checkpoint. Another time the luggage went on the conveyor belt. So, what is the story here?

swinokur
11-07-2010, 15:04
Welcome to the TSA and air travel, where the only standards are NO standards. I totally agree that if you are the only person with the key to your firearm case, it is completely illogical to place the tag inside the locked case. If TSA conducts a secondary search and the tag is not visible to them, they have no idea whether the firearm was declared or not. I put most of the blame on the airlines for poor training of their ticket agents. I have found absolutely nothing in the TSA regs or US CFR addressing the declaration tag location. Even so, common sense should dictate where the tag logically should go..

Oh wait, nevermind.

As far as the differences in how TSA treats your bag at different airports, it depends on where the TSA scanner is located. Airports were never designed for these large heavy devices so they have to be placed where there is room and the floor can take the weight. Sometimes it's in a different area and no 2 airports are exactly the same

rmarkob
11-07-2010, 15:10
OK.... I've done this twice now. Two round trips = four experiences checking a firearm.

[SNIP]

OK... It seems to me that there would logically be some CONSISTENCY to this process. So far, all four experiences were DIFFERENT.

I also believe it seems rather illogical to put the declaration tag INSIDE the locked gun case. Nobody will ever see it, except ME when I get to my destination. The one time the ticket agent taped it the outside of the gun case made the most sense to me. And, even at the same airport (Palm Beach), one time I was escorted to a TSA checkpoint. Another time the luggage went on the conveyor belt. So, what is the story here?

I will be heading to West Palm Beach on Southwest next week, and my previous experience there matches yours when they escorted you downstairs to the TSA area.

I think some of the inconsistency with handguns stems from the practice on long guns, where the gun case IS the luggage. The tag goes inside, because you don't want to advertise the contents, but...it's a gun case!!! Hard to disguise that!

I agree that attaching the declaration to a handgun case inside the luggage makes the most sense. One TSA agent at SeaTac explained it to me: When the luggage goes through TSA screening and the x-rays reveal a firearm, they open the luggage to ensure you've declared it to the airline as being unloaded. The tag is evidence of that. If it's inside the gun case, they can't see it. If it's loose in your luggage and not near the gun case, they could miss it. If it's taped to the gun case, or attached via string (I've done that when the tag includes a string), there's no question.

I wish the TSA would clarify the requirements so the airlines would be consistent!

swinokur
11-07-2010, 15:15
I wish the TSA would clarify the requirements so the airlines would be consistent!

They can't. They're the TSA

:rofl:

rmarkob
11-15-2010, 06:57
OK, just checked in at Southwest in West Palm Beach (PBIA), and it was perfect! The agent got the declaration form, had me fill it out and open my bag, then got a roll of clear tape and taped the form to the outside of my Secure-it/Center-of-Mass lock box. I told her that when I checked in at SWA in BWI, the agent had me put the form inside the lock box. I asked the BWI agent how can the TSA see that I've properly declared the firearm?, and she had the brilliant response "I guess they can see inside". :rofl:

The agent at PBIA complimented me on my lockbox and said she liked how it was secured to the frame of my luggage. She said I wouldn't believe some of the boxes people try to use that completely compromise the security of the firearm.

One new wrinkle - she didn't have me escorted downstairs to the entrance to the TSA area by baggage claim. She just put the bag on the conveyor behind the counter.:cheers:

swinokur
11-15-2010, 07:19
Each airport's scanners are in a different location. That's why some go on the conveyor and other times they escort you

chad1972
11-15-2010, 07:22
tagged

rmarkob
11-15-2010, 07:29
Each airport's scanners are in a different location. That's why some go on the conveyor and other times they escort you

I know, but I've always been escorted at THIS airport before. The only difference is that this is the first time I've flown SWA from PBIA.

swinokur
11-15-2010, 07:56
that is strange. But hey, it's TSA right? The only procedure they have is be inconsistent. This helps confuse the terrorists as well as everyone else.





:rofl:

racer88
11-15-2010, 11:38
Each airport's scanners are in a different location. That's why some go on the conveyor and other times they escort you

NOPE. Same airport... once went on conveyor. Another time escorted to a separate area. The only difference was the airline. SAME airport.

SEAX
11-15-2010, 11:57
That is some excellent information.

However, it is (again) obscene that every day, tax-paying, patriotic, law-abiding citizens are the ones treated like criminals, it sickens me. All that double locking and hanging the wife's undies from it just to keep it safe FROM TSA!

swinokur
11-16-2010, 04:24
NOPE. Same airport... once went on conveyor. Another time escorted to a separate area. The only difference was the airline. SAME airport.

were the airline counters in close proximity to each other? if not maybe that explains it. ask next time. maybe they'll tell you but you might get on a no fly list for just asking.

:crying:

racer88
11-16-2010, 05:02
were the airline counters in close proximity to each other? if not maybe that explains it. ask next time. maybe they'll tell you but you might get on a no fly list for just asking.

:crying:

Same terminal. Within 100 yards of each other, I'd say.

Blacula
11-16-2010, 05:19
I use a Pelican case large enough to hold all of my baggage. You put your non-TSA lock on the large case, and no one has access to any of your belongings. Works like a charm and is completely within the regulations.

swinokur
11-16-2010, 08:14
Same terminal. Within 100 yards of each other, I'd say.

Well. I'm stumped.

:crying:

DrBob
11-16-2010, 11:50
NY IS A SPECIAL CASE.

it would be a good idea to have a copy of the "Don Young" letter with you to show the Police and/or TSA if hassled on a stop over in NY. Use this link to make a copy
http://www.anjrpc.org/resource/resmgr/docs/travelwithguns.pdf

This only applies to people on route THROUGH NY. If you intend to stop there, it's a whole different ball game.

MacG22
11-18-2010, 12:44
OK.... I've done this twice now. Two round trips = four experiences checking a firearm.

Palm Beach --> Little Rock via Delta: Delta agent put the firearms declaration tag INSIDE my locked Pelican case (which is cable-locked to the frame inside soft-sided suitcase). Then I had to take my luggage (with an escort) to a special TSA security checkpoint.

Little Rock --> Palm Beach via Delta: Ticket agent also put declaration tag INSIDE locked Pelican case. But, then luggage went on conveyor belt.


Palm Beach --> Tampa via Southwest: Ticket agent TAPED declaration tag on the OUTSIDE of my locked Pelican case.

Tampa --> Palm Beach via Southwest: Ticket agent insisted that declaration tag simply go inside softsided luggage (anywhere) rather than taped to the outside of Pelican case or inside Pelican case. Then I had to be escorted (along with another guy declaring a firearm) to a separate TSA checkpoint. We stood there while they scanned our suitcases and then were told we were good to go.

OK... It seems to me that there would logically be some CONSISTENCY to this process. So far, all four experiences were DIFFERENT.

I also believe it seems rather illogical to put the declaration tag INSIDE the locked gun case. Nobody will ever see it, except ME when I get to my destination. The one time the ticket agent taped it the outside of the gun case made the most sense to me. And, even at the same airport (Palm Beach), one time I was escorted to a TSA checkpoint. Another time the luggage went on the conveyor belt. So, what is the story here?

My experiences have been the same. Going in and out of Detroit multiple times, and Denver as well, I've been escorted and not. From what I could perceive, it was based upon the comfort level of the ticket agent. If they were comfortable with the procedure, I usually didn't go anywhere. If they were not, I was given to TSA for scanning.

The good news is that, as of yet, I've never really had a BAD experience for all the lack of consistency. It's easy to fly with my firearm. But I would like to see it nailed down a little better so that I feel I can predict a bit better.

OK, just checked in at Southwest in West Palm Beach (PBIA), and it was perfect! The agent got the declaration form, had me fill it out and open my bag, then got a roll of clear tape and taped the form to the outside of my Secure-it/Center-of-Mass lock box. I told her that when I checked in at SWA in BWI, the agent had me put the form inside the lock box. I asked the BWI agent how can the TSA see that I've properly declared the firearm?, and she had the brilliant response "I guess they can see inside". :rofl:

The agent at PBIA complimented me on my lockbox and said she liked how it was secured to the frame of my luggage. She said I wouldn't believe some of the boxes people try to use that completely compromise the security of the firearm.

One new wrinkle - she didn't have me escorted downstairs to the entrance to the TSA area by baggage claim. She just put the bag on the conveyor behind the counter.:cheers:

I can also say that, from what I've experienced (pure anecdote) it is getting easier and easier. I can hope that the more we all fly with our firearms, the more it will become predictable and easy.

that is strange. But hey, it's TSA right? The only procedure they have is be inconsistent. This helps confuse the terrorists as well as everyone else.





:rofl:

TSA is under a lot of fire, too. I wonder what affect all their current scrutiny will have on their overall procedures, if any.

Manofprint
11-23-2010, 21:51
Checked firearm for the first time today.
Ft Lauderdale >>>> Detroit Via Delta airlines

Told the clerk I was declaring an unloaded firearm she said you have to sign this form. She gave me the red tag and I signed it. She then told me
to put it inside my bag. Iasked her if she needed to sign where it said agent and said oh yeah. She sgned it and I put it in the main part of the bag. She took it and put it on the belt. She never had me open it or anything. No TSA pages to open it or anything. Is this Normal.
It went smooth dont get me wrong. I was just shocked.

Thanks MAC for the great guide and ideas

Jon_R
11-24-2010, 07:15
This is basically the way it worked for me flying Delta to and from Orlando/ Las Vegas. The only difference is in Orlando you take your bags to TSA regardless so the ticket agent went with me and told TSA there was an unloaded firearm in the bag. TSA just said Ok and I was free to head to the gate. Las Vegas they tossed it on the belt behind the agent.


Checked firearm for the first time today.
Ft Lauderdale >>>> Detroit Via Delta airlines

Told the clerk I was declaring an unloaded firearm she said you have to sign this form. She gave me the red tag and I signed it. She then told me
to put it inside my bag. Iasked her if she needed to sign where it said agent and said oh yeah. She sgned it and I put it in the main part of the bag. She took it and put it on the belt. She never had me open it or anything. No TSA pages to open it or anything. Is this Normal.
It went smooth dont get me wrong. I was just shocked.

Thanks MAC for the great guide and ideas

New2GT
11-29-2010, 09:51
Great thread, thanks for the writeup.

I am going to be flying with checked firearms for the first time next weekend. I am flying to GA to go quail hunting, so I will be packing a shotgun w/ 28" barrel.

My only question is, Mac's writeup focused on carrying a pistol in a small locked hard container which itself resides inside an unlocked (or TSA compliant locked) piece of baggage. What about for those of us with long guns who where the hard case itself is the luggage.

I plan on purchasing this SKB 50" double long gun case: http://www.amazon.com/SKB-Large-Double-Rifle-Case/dp/B001B97CY6/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

I am ok checking this as a single piece of luggage and have it locked with only myself having the key/combo, correct? I do plan to have a few other items in the case in addition to the shotgun - some ammo, a knife, and what the heck I might as well pack my S&W 642 for legal concealed carry while I'm in GA. The ammo will all be in original cardboard boxes. This will be my only piece of checked luggage so the ammo, knife etc. will have to be locked in this same case.

Is this the correct way to go about it?

Any comments on that SKB case also welcome. I can't seem to find a Hardigg online that I can get shipped here as fast as Amazon Prime offers for a reasonable price. Pelican it seems the reviews are mixed.

swinokur
11-29-2010, 09:58
Great thread, thanks for the writeup.

I am going to be flying with checked firearms for the first time next weekend. I am flying to GA to go quail hunting, so I will be packing a shotgun w/ 28" barrel.

My only question is, Mac's writeup focused on carrying a pistol in a small locked hard container which itself resides inside an unlocked (or TSA compliant locked) piece of baggage. What about for those of us with long guns who where the hard case itself is the luggage.

I plan on purchasing this SKB 50" double long gun case: http://www.amazon.com/SKB-Large-Double-Rifle-Case/dp/B001B97CY6/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

I am ok checking this as a single piece of luggage and have it locked with only myself having the key/combo, correct? I do plan to have a few other items in the case in addition to the shotgun - some ammo, a knife, and what the heck I might as well pack my S&W 642 for legal concealed carry while I'm in GA. The ammo will all be in original cardboard boxes. This will be my only piece of checked luggage so the ammo, knife etc. will have to be locked in this same case.

Is this the correct way to go about it?

Not only is it legal, I know some guys who do exactly what you want even if just carrying a pistol. Maximum security since their "luggage" is now their locked gun case. i may buy a big Pelican case so I can do the same thing.

New2GT
11-29-2010, 16:59
Not only is it legal, I know some guys who do exactly what you want even if just carrying a pistol. Maximum security since their "luggage" is now their locked gun case. i may buy a big Pelican case so I can do the same thing.

Ended up ordering the Pelican Storm in OD from Midwayusa. Pricey, but should work nicely. I read some very positive reviews on the Storm cases before Pelican bought them, so hopefully they haven't changed anything.

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=2603121996

gbhamm2
11-30-2010, 16:28
Great thread, I am going on a ski trip to CO in a few weeks and was wanting to bring my G23, after reading this I think I will (my KY ccw works in CO).

My question is, has anyone had any trouble from southwest airlines or denver airport? I'm not real worried about the Louisville airport but I saw a few stories about denver.

MacG22
12-01-2010, 18:48
Great thread, I am going on a ski trip to CO in a few weeks and was wanting to bring my G23, after reading this I think I will (my KY ccw works in CO).

My question is, has anyone had any trouble from southwest airlines or denver airport? I'm not real worried about the Louisville airport but I saw a few stories about denver.

I live in Denver so I fly out of there all the time. It's been easy for me. Never any problem. In fact, almost all my stories posted here or elsewhere originated from DIA.

zackwatt
12-17-2010, 22:45
Great Thread!

bmylesk
12-19-2010, 19:25
thanks for your time and detailed steps! this seems to be almost fail proof!

nikerret
12-19-2010, 22:06
tagged

DrBob
01-01-2011, 16:47
Really great thread. We used your advice flying Southwest over the holidays. The skycap at the curb turned down our proffered $5 tip to escort us to the front of the check-in line when I told him we had to check weapons. His loss. We walked into the Orlando terminall and got in line; the guy at the check-in kiosk told us that we should have gone to the "full service" kiosk that had no one waiting. He seemed a little uncomfortable when I opened the Pelican Case with 3 guns in it but gave us the form to fill out. He then tucked the form inside the Pelican case, had me lock it and escorted us to the TSA guy. TSA guy shook his head and commented that the form should be taped to the outside of the Pelican case; ran our suit case throught he xray machine and put it on the conveyor belt. Coming home, person at the Pittsburgh check-in kiosk also looked uncomfortable but didn't say anything. Attached the form to the outside of the Pelican case and told us to drag our bag over to the TSA. TSA guy swabbed outside of Pelican case and got a positive reading (duh?!) and had his manager come out. Asked me to unlock Pelican, looked at the guns; relocked the pelican and the suitcase and wished us a happy new year.
Total time = about 10 or 15 minutes more each time. Pretty smooth and virtually no hassle.

swinokur
01-01-2011, 16:58
Excellent. Hope your experience puts to rest the claim of some that your declaration goes inside the firearm case. Hard for TSA to see it if a secondary search is done later by TSA.

Glad Mac's advice worked for you.

Bill Lumberg
01-02-2011, 07:32
What are your referring to as a declaration? I've checked guns maany times, and the only tag has been placed inside the case, not outside the case, not outside the bag, every single time.

swinokur
01-02-2011, 07:37
What are your referring to as a declaration? I've checked guns maany times, and the only tag has been placed inside the case, not outside the case, not outside the bag, every single time.

I did not say on the outside of your suitcase. If I wasn't clear I meant the signed declaration goes in your suitcase but outside the locked firearm case. Dr. Bob said the TSA agents had him put the signed declaration on the outside of the locked case, which IMO is corrrect. Some airline folks seem clueless about it. I don't think it's specified but if TSA conducts a secondary search how can they know the weapon is unloaded if they cannot see the signed tag?. You are the only one with the key to your pistol case. (If it was done by the rules)

I travel about once a month for work.

Bill Lumberg
01-02-2011, 09:08
Every time I've checked instead of carrying on the plane, the tag has gone inside the case with the gun, actually with the gun. Without exception. I've always sort of expected them to put it on the outside of the weapon case sooner or later. Hasn't happened to me yet. I did check a duty and a personal weapon in one suitcase once flying out of Reagan Int'l, and they wanted to open my suitcase to look at a fingernail clipper sized glass breaker that we were given at Cheltenham (FLETC). Guns are okay, but a pointy thing isn't? Weird.

swinokur
01-02-2011, 09:49
Well that's what is confusing to me. You aren't the first person who has said this. The TSA regs don't specify a location for the tag but if you think about the process a bag goes through after it leaves the check in area you'd wonder why they put the tag in with the firearm, I've had my bag come back with a TSA tag inside that says it was searched again by TSA a second time. If they open your luggage and see the locked pistol case with no tag visible, how do they know it was checked by TSA or the airline? That could be grounds to not put your bag on the plane or they have to contact you which could delay you or the plane. I'm certainly not saying it doesn't happen that way as you described, I just don't see the logic behind it. The airline folks are almost as clueless as TSA.

IMO opinion the only rule that TSA has and is uniformly enforced is that "we don't have uniform procedures"

Govt inefficiency and incompetence at it's best. There was an article in the Washington Post yesterday saying many airports are considering booting TSA and hiring private contractors like SFO does.

Can't happen soon enough for me. TSA is security theater and Nepolitano is an incompetent moron.

My .02

Markasaurus
01-02-2011, 09:56
I think you'd be better off just Fed-exing your guns to your destination!!!

MacG22
01-02-2011, 23:03
I think you'd be better off just Fed-exing your guns to your destination!!!

I have personally found that flying with them is quicker, easier, CHEAPER, and more secure than mailing. However, others may have found otherwise.

Sippo
01-03-2011, 11:06
MacG, First I'd like to thank you for your contribution to the gun owning public for this thread. I only discovered the thread a couple of weeks ago, and since I plan to travel with my two Glocks to Front Sight this June (Lord willing), this topic has taken on a greater relevance to me.

I visited Continental Airlines guidance for traveling with firearms. Their write up seems to imply you must travel with a hard-shelled, outer luggage. I pasted the bullet statements below. What confuses me is the way they seem to refer to "hard-sided luggage" twice in separate bullet statements as if in the first they're referring to the actual pistol container (the ones you describ as being locked with pad locks) and in the second bullet they are referring to the outer luggage we'd lock with a TSA lock. How'd you interpret this:

**The firearm must be packaged in a hard-sided container capable of being locked. The container must be locked and the key or combination must remain in the customer's possession. If a hard-sided container is needed, see the container section of this site.
**Handguns must be packed in hard-side lockable luggage. Baggage containing handguns must be locked at the time of acceptance by Continental Airlines and the key or combination retained in the passenger's custody.

http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/content/travel/baggage/sports.aspx

What's your read? Do you have personal experience with thsi carrier? Do you think soft-sided luggage is exceptable to this carrier the way it reads?

MacG22
01-03-2011, 15:22
Sippo, I believe they're just referring to the actual case the gun is in. I don't believe for a moment that they'd force you to have hard sided luggage all in all. I *think* I've flown on Continental with no issues. However, I have a friend who flies continental all the time and has never had an issue.

However, hard sided luggage, if you can afford it, is a good thing to have anyway. Certainly don't be discouraged from buying it if you have the opportunity.

swinokur
01-03-2011, 15:41
Mac, several years ago Consumer Reports tested different kinds and brands of luggage even using a huge tumbler to simulate typical abuse a piece of luggage would receive during travel.

Guess which one fared the worst? The hard sided luggage. Apparently the hard side protects your clothing but if dropped or manhandled, it failed but the softsided luggage did not. Guess the soft side plus your clothing acted as a shock absorber.

When I stand at the carousel I don't see much hard sided luggage any more I think the advances in nylon and other fabrics have pushed soft sided sales because of their durability and shock resistance.

That's my observation anyway.

MacG22
01-03-2011, 16:24
Mac, several years ago Consumer Reports tested different kinds and brands of luggage even using a huge tumbler to simulate typical abuse a piece of luggage would receive during travel.

Guess which one fared the worse? The hard sided luggage. Apparently the hard side protects your clothing but if dropped or manhandled, it failed but the sof tsided luggage did not. Guess the soft side plus your clothing acted as a shock absorber.

When I stand at the carousel I don't see much hard sided luggage any more I think the advances in nylon and other fabrics have pushed soft sided sales because of their durability and shock resistance.

That's my observation anyway.

I'd agree on the consumer grade stuff. The kind you just find in shops.

Two MAJOR exceptions, though. I have a Zero Halliburton hard sided luggage case that has been amazing for me. I can put a laptop and camera gear in it and it comes out fine, and I'd never do that otherwise. It's my favorite to fly with.

The other exception is that hard sided luggage made of some of the new composites, and especially those that latch closed, have been shown to take MUCH more abuse than soft sided luggage and are much more secure. However, you have to buy the good stuff and it's not cheap. But you can travel with gear or glass and be alright. Big articles all over the photography world on the debate. The downside is that space is less flexible and it's heavier. If you really pack it you'll almost always pay an overage fee. There are many research pieces done in it, though, mostly among travel sites and photographers.

You can break into any soft sided, zippered bag in seconds, it's undetectable, and all you need is a bic pen. I've shown friends this trick over and over and it always shocks them. I'm sure it's on youtube. (update: just googled it, watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5mvvZl6pLI&playnext=1&list=PL739C3177D781C761&index=29 ). When I take gear or I want more security, I take a hard sided case. If it's just clothing and a firearm, then I take the soft case and use the locking system I detailed in the OP.

Definitely fervent debate on the topic, though.

swinokur
01-03-2011, 16:35
Zero Halliburton? I want to leave my kids an inheritance !:rofl:

The zipper video was indeed scary. Makes locking your pistol case inside your suitcase even more of a priority.

Thanks for posting that. Guess every baggage handler in the world knows that too. Why bother with a TSA lock? Between them cutting them off and the video I'll just not bother. I had stopped anyway. TSA's boltcutter budget exceeded my TSA lock budget anyway.

Good stuff though, Thanks

:cool:

kensteele
01-03-2011, 16:47
I know there is confusion on where the tag is placed because I've had it done both ways as well. IMO, the tag goes outside the hardcase for the gun, not inside with the gun. Maybe they can see the tag with the xray no matter where it is located?

But I'm not going to take the risk of missing a flight or being called out for improper baggage due to the TSA and being told incorrectly. When I show up at the airport, I ALREADY have a filled out tag both inside the hardcase with the handgun and outside the hardcase near the gun case. These are old tags with my name/address and today's date but without the endoursement. Then I fill out a third tag at the counter and place it wherever they like but they never ask me to remove the old tags and I'm covered.

Keep your old tags and use them as long as you have declared your firearms unloaded today. But always use them in conjunction with new tags.

swinokur
01-03-2011, 17:56
Ken, excellent idea. This thread is chock with great travel nuggets.

MacG22
01-03-2011, 21:20
Zero Halliburton? I want to leave my kids an inheritance !:rofl:


E-B-A-Y. You may have to do a little work on your own to restore, but I have 4 cases from them--highest quality stuff-- and I've never paid more than $150 for one them.

When I travel with a lot of money in gear and equipment, I don't really have an option. But thanks to trolling ebay over the years, I have a good outlay of briefcases and suitcases and gear cases and I'm not out much for it, and certainly nothing compared to the replacement cost of what's inside.

Sippo
01-04-2011, 05:48
Sippo, I believe they're just referring to the actual case the gun is in. I don't believe for a moment that they'd force you to have hard sided luggage all in all. I *think* I've flown on Continental with no issues. However, I have a friend who flies continental all the time and has never had an issue.

However, hard sided luggage, if you can afford it, is a good thing to have anyway. Certainly don't be discouraged from buying it if you have the opportunity.

Brings on a follow up question... If you use hard-sided luggage, to what do you cable-lock your pistol container? Is there some sort of metal spine similar to that you describe with soft luggage?

MacG22
01-04-2011, 14:46
Brings on a follow up question... If you use hard-sided luggage, to what do you cable-lock your pistol container? Is there some sort of metal spine similar to that you describe with soft luggage?

There are two things I've done. Others may have a better answer. The second on the list below is the most practical and what I recommend. The first is something I've been playing around with:

1. Lock the whole dang case:

If the hard sided luggage Latches closed, as mine does, then you just add a hasp and padlock it. You don't put the gun it's own case, you make the WHOLE SUITCASE the gun case, so you can use your own lock and TSA cannot have a key.

Think of it like if you go hunting and have a nice rifle case, and you put a change of clothes in it.

At first I thought I'd get the book thrown at me trying this. But I followed it to the letter of the law and haven't had any issues so far other than some damage to one of the cases where it looked like they tried to pry it open. But a little Flitz on the spot and it came right out.

2. Mount a loop or hasp into the inside side panel of the hard sided luggage:

If it's thin, the screws will poke out a bit. I just filled a little cap with locktite and put it on the outside, over the screw. Blends in with all the other bumpers and zippers and etc.

It's by far the easiest way to do it, and was a 10 minute and $10 sort of fix, but well worth it.

However, it's not as fun as experimenting with option number one above. :whistling:

Sippo
01-05-2011, 05:40
There are two things I've done. Others may have a better answer. The second on the list below is the most practical and what I recommend. The first is something I've been playing around with:

1. Lock the whole dang case:

If the hard sided luggage Latches closed, as mine does, then you just add a hasp and padlock it. You don't put the gun it's own case, you make the WHOLE SUITCASE the gun case, so you can use your own lock and TSA cannot have a key.

Think of it like if you go hunting and have a nice rifle case, and you put a change of clothes in it.

At first I thought I'd get the book thrown at me trying this. But I followed it to the letter of the law and haven't had any issues so far other than some damage to one of the cases where it looked like they tried to pry it open. But a little Flitz on the spot and it came right out.

2. Mount a loop or hasp into the inside side panel of the hard sided luggage:

If it's thin, the screws will poke out a bit. I just filled a little cap with locktite and put it on the outside, over the screw. Blends in with all the other bumpers and zippers and etc.

It's by far the easiest way to do it, and was a 10 minute and $10 sort of fix, but well worth it.

However, it's not as fun as experimenting with option number one above. :whistling:

Making your whole luggage bag your pistol container may raise so issues if the ticket agent insists on hanging the red firearm tag outside the "pistol container" instead of inside the "pistol container". It would appear such an agent would end up tagging the outside of your luggage as a gun bag.

swinokur
01-05-2011, 05:45
Federal law prohibits any tag on the outside of luggage that would indicate it contains a firearm

US Code Title 18 section 922


(e) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to deliver or
cause to be delivered to any common or contract carrier for
transportation or shipment in interstate or foreign commerce, to
persons other than licensed importers, licensed manufacturers,
licensed dealers, or licensed collectors, any package or other
container in which there is any firearm or ammunition without
written notice to the carrier that such firearm or ammunition is
being transported or shipped; except that any passenger who owns or
legally possesses a firearm or ammunition being transported aboard
any common or contract carrier for movement with the passenger in
interstate or foreign commerce may deliver said firearm or
ammunition into the custody of the pilot, captain, conductor or
operator of such common or contract carrier for the duration of the
trip without violating any of the provisions of this chapter. No
common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag,
or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package,
luggage, or other container that such package, luggage, or other
container contains a firearm.
(f)(1) It shall be unlawful for any common or contract carrier to
transport or deliver in interstate or foreign commerce any firearm
or ammunition with knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that
the shipment, transportation, or receipt thereof would be in
violation of the provisions of this chapter.

Bill Lumberg
01-05-2011, 07:25
Stock glock case, stock glock cable lock.

Brings on a follow up question... If you use hard-sided luggage, to what do you cable-lock your pistol container? Is there some sort of metal spine similar to that you describe with soft luggage?

MacG22
01-05-2011, 14:42
Stock glock case, stock glock cable lock.

Bill, I believe he was asking about, in a hard sided luggage back (with no spine to secure the cable to), where can you secure the gun so that it cannot be easily taken out.

Sippo
01-06-2011, 11:58
Bill, I believe he was asking about, in a hard sided luggage back (with no spine to secure the cable to), where can you secure the gun so that it cannot be easily taken out.

That's correct, Mac

ChiefWPD
01-06-2011, 12:29
Mac:

Great and informative thread. When I travel with a handgun (if I'm traveling around the USA I WILL have a handgun with me) I use a hard sided suitecase which I modified by installing (bolting) an "eye bolt" purchased at a hardware store. The inside of the "eye" is, naturally, inside the suitcase body. The little bit of threaded shank that sticks outside the body of the case I put a plastic cover on (ACE Hardware had all the stuff I needed for this). I had a plastic coated cable permanently attached to to the eye of the bolt. There is another loop around the other end of the plastic cable, which I attach, via the same lock used to secure my Pelican case which contains the handgun.

Could you steal my little handgun case from my luggage? Sure. But you'll need to have a pretty heavy bolt cutter or cable cutter in your back pocket in order to do so.

To make everyone's life simpler I'll get the case out of the basement and photo the set-up for this thread.

:wavey:

MacG22
01-06-2011, 16:31
Mac:

Great and informative thread. When I travel with a handgun (if I'm traveling around the USA I WILL have a handgun with me) I use a hard sided suitecase which I modified by installing (bolting) an "eye bolt" purchased at a hardware store. The inside of the "eye" is, naturally, inside the suitcase body. The little bit of threaded shank that sticks outside the body of the case I put a plastic cover on (ACE Hardware had all the stuff I needed for this). I had a plastic coated cable permanently attached to to the eye of the bolt. There is another loop around the other end of the plastic cable, which I attach, via the same lock used to secure my Pelican case which contains the handgun.

Could you steal my little handgun case from my luggage? Sure. But you'll need to have a pretty heavy bolt cutter or cable cutter in your back pocket in order to do so.

To make everyone's life simpler I'll get the case out of the basement and photo the set-up for this thread.

:wavey:

That would be great. My camera is out of commission for a bit.

Sippo
01-07-2011, 07:48
I've visited several websites and made some interesting observations.... Some had pictures of hard-sided pistol cases locked with TSA locks (one had two locks). They even provided a link from the pistol case page to add it to your shopping cart to go with your pistol case!

ChiefWPD
01-07-2011, 10:01
Mac:

Here is the set-up I promised to photo for you:

http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l149/RichCapeCod/Wpn%20in%20Luggage/IMG_2841.jpg
Eye-Bolt was placed "eye" inside a piece of hardsided luggage. Plastic coated cable was attached through the eye.

http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l149/RichCapeCod/Wpn%20in%20Luggage/IMG_2840.jpg
This is the outside of the bag. I epoxied the nut to the threaded portion of the eye-bolt. The white piece of soft plastic covers the remaining threaded portion nicely. All this stuff came from a local ACE Hardware store. Nothing exotic here. Do note the two washers I used, one on either side of the shaft of the eye-bolt (one washer inside the hard sided luggage, the other placed on the outside).

http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l149/RichCapeCod/Wpn%20in%20Luggage/IMG_2845.jpg
This is the other end of the plastic coated cable. As you can see I fasten the cable using the same hasp lock I use to secure my Pelican hard sided case. Note the weapon card. Put there the last time I flew via JetBlue. Yeah, I know the regs. Go figure.

Will this absolutely prevent me from losing a handgun when I fly? Nope. But it will make it a heck of a lot more difficult for some mutt to simply just take my handgun case from my luggage.

:wavey:

MacG22
01-07-2011, 13:34
Wow. Great pics. that's similar to what I did in my haliburton case only I bolted a hasp and used locktite instead of epoxy. To be frank, yours looks stronger. Thanks for posting.

Sippo
01-09-2011, 14:47
Wow. Great pics. that's similar to what I did in my haliburton case only I bolted a hasp and used locktite instead of epoxy. To be frank, yours looks stronger. Thanks for posting.

Mac, Isn't your cable a half-inch cable? You're hasp must be a lot larger.

MacG22
01-09-2011, 20:52
Yeah, I can't really tell scale on here. But I use a thinner cable when I use the hard case and bolt. However, the hasp is still a bit bigger than a standard eye, though I like that design. By "stronger" I mean how his looks like it was anchored.

I don't use the hard case as much as I could, though. I'd say 75% of my travel is with the exact setup in the original pictures.