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?