Transporting firearm on airline

This is a discussion on Transporting firearm on airline within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Domestic flights for all the airlines I've flown, even if it were allowed in the host country getting it there would be a problem. It ...

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Thread: Transporting firearm on airline

  1. #16
    Senior Member Array rljohns's Avatar
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    Domestic flights for all the airlines I've flown, even if it were allowed in the host country getting it there would be a problem. It would need to be shipped. I've flown to Northern KY, Vegas, and WV. All were very easy, I use a COM box and cable it to the suitcase frame. Declare to the flight agent that you have it and sign the little orange card, place that card in the COM box. They may escport you to the X-Ray machine or they may just say you are good to go. The biggest thing is that the inner container should not have a TSA lock on it and only you have the key. Next go to the bathroom and wash your hands very weel. TSA may swab your hands and pick you to addition screening due to Nitrates on your hands.

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  3. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Not more than once, anyway...
    ...and the round-trip may be converted to a one-way.
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  4. #18
    Senior Member Array MotorCityGun's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone who provided EXCELLENT information. I feel a lot better and more confident about it now.

  5. #19
    Member Array gmark340's Avatar
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    I pack my firearms and ammo in a hard-sided aluminum case. The ammo limit for most airlines is, I believe, 11 pounds but I have never had anyone try to weigh it and I've stuffed half a dozen factory boxes of .45 ammo in with my gun. I also routinely travel with no mags in the gun but all mags loaded and inserted into mag holders. The combination of a mag in a mag holder qualifies for most airlines as a "container." Never had an issue with it. Finally, and something I've found really helpful, is that I lock the slide back or open the cylinder and then thread a cable lock through the barrel and release the slide or just leave the cylinder open. I don't lock the cable lock (I lose keys). That way, when I walk up to the agent and say "I'd like to declare an unloaded firearm, please" even an agent who is not knowledgeable can feel comfortable that they are looking at a gun that's unloaded. I had one agent recently tell me "that's a great idea (the cable lock). I shoot, too, but I don't know every type of firearm and this makes it easy to see. I wish more people would use it." The TSA people I've dealt with have been quite friendly and professional, never an issue there. The only problem I've had in a number of trips was a gun that decided, for whatever reason, to take a different plane them me and didn't show up until the next morning.

  6. #20
    Ex Member Array MadMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmark340 View Post
    Finally, and something I've found really helpful, is that I lock the slide back or open the cylinder and then thread a cable lock through the barrel and release the slide or just leave the cylinder open.
    I use the orange chamber plug that came with my Kimbers. I had to clip off part of the long "tail" that sticks out the ejection port to make it fit in the COM safe I use, but when I open it, and they see the orange safety cone, I usually just get a thumbs-up, and I'm on my way.

  7. #21
    Member Array houdini's Avatar
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    do not take any other place than to get you gun . It happen to a guy I know he went to the bathroom then to get his guns some stole his case that had the guns in them it took a while he got them back. lucky he got them back.

  8. #22
    Senior Member Array swinokur's Avatar
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    I keep a copy of the TSA regs, airline policy, and a copy of FOPA in my case. Many airline employees and some police are woefully uneducated on these procedures and laws.

  9. #23
    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cammo girl View Post
    I'll add:

    - the case, when locked, must not be easily pryed open. I am not familiar with your S&W case, but my Sig or Glock factory cases would work.

    - if you tell the gate agent "I have an item to declare" it somehow sounds better than fumbling around with the gun word. They will ask you "is it a firearm" then just say yes and you sound like a pro.

    - bring ammo in a factory box, I've not locked it up seperately, just the original box with original packing intact. I put it in a ziplock bag. I've also traveled without the ammo, but sometimes finding self defense ammo in a strange place is challenging, time consuming, and expensive so I learned to just bring it. The downside is that it adds weight to your bag - I sort of struggle with the under 50 lb thing. Actually I count bullets to just fill the gun and mag and no more for xtra weight.

    - remove ammo from your spare mag, ammo only in factory boxes or packed cases.

    - TSA differs wildly between airports and shifts. Some agents seem inexperienced at the firearm process, so I usually print out the regs and have them to refer to.

    - lastly, they sometimes remove the foam inserts from your gun case. Do a dry run of this to be sure there is nothing else in there, I don't know what exactly that would be but I do remember some reluctance when they started taking apart my gun case...what else had I stuck in there?

    Happy travels.
    All of this plus I'll add that what I do is print off the TSA regs and the places I'm going (in duplicate) and will place one set in my carry on with me and one set just under my COM case in my suit case. I would not use the factory case, see point #1 above.

    Also be aware of where you are going, it may be perfectly legal to carry but not liked. My prime example is when I went to San Diego. I was completely legal, all the way down to my 10 rd. mag. When I declared at the gate you would have think I field stripped a skunk on the ticket counter, along with the Agent's comments to the passengers inline behind me. San Diego doesn't have a dedicated TSA desk, like DFW does, so they came on to the plane prior to take off (but after full boarding) and asked for my key to the safe so they can check it out.

    Remember to always be polite and professional, and have a good experience, and report back how your trip was so we'll all know where we should/shouldn't go in the future.
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  10. #24
    Member Array buzzed's Avatar
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    Ok, What is a COM case?

  11. #25
    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzed View Post
    Ok, What is a COM case?
    Sorry, Center of Mass
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  12. #26
    Senior Member Array swinokur's Avatar
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    If TSA came on a plane to get your key, they violated their own rules. The rule says your case is to be locked with a lock that only YOU can open and it will be done at the ticket counter. Giving them the key on the plane violated that rule. No way will I give my key to TSA to open my case if I am not present.. I'll be happy to accompany them to open it. Another reason I keep a copy of all the regs and rules in my carry on and pistol case.

    From TSA web site:

    • TSA inspects all firearm cases at the ticket counter. Travelers 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 travelers are not present and the security officer must open the container, TSA or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact the owner. If contact is not made, the container will not be placed on the aircraft.

  13. #27
    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swinokur View Post
    If TSA came on a plane to get your key, they violated their own rules. The rule says your case is to be locked with a lock that only YOU can open and it will be done at the ticket counter. Giving them the key on the plane violated that rule. No way will I give my key to TSA to open my case if I am not present.. I'll be happy to accompany them to open it. Another reason I keep a copy of all the regs and rules in my carry on and pistol case.

    From TSA web site:
    I brought that up and he told me then he would have to remove my bag and go with me to the security area and I would miss my plane. So I took his name and made sure I knew who he was, then I filed a complaint with the TSA afterwards, guess where that went (file 13).
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt

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  14. #28
    Member Array Andriss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmark340 View Post
    "I'd like to declare an unloaded firearm, please"
    Be careful with this one.. sometimes all they hear is "firearm" and it becomes a hassle. I'm going to take cammogirl's advice and just say I have something to declare in my bag when I have to fly again. The ticketing agent apparently thought I had said I was armed and tried to give me the form that declares I'm an agent. It took a few minutes for me to sort it out and let them know that it's unloaded in my bag.

    Finally they sent me to another agent who then didn't know the difference between off-loaded and unloaded so that took a while for him to understand that the ammo was in the factory box it came in!

    Luckily, the TSA agent knew what he was doing and x-rayed my bag right away and I was finally able to move on to security. I've never had an agent ask me to open my case though. I put everything I can into my GunVault except for pepper spray. In fact, I put the spray in the holster that I brought along and that seems to satisfy the requirement that it must not able to go to discharge by accident.

  15. #29
    Senior Member Array jem102's Avatar
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    So,
    1. "Only you" have the key to whatever type lock box you are using, which is in your to be checked luggage. No carry on of course.
    2. You state at the ticket counter you have an item to declare and they take you and the bag to the TSA counter and/or somehow get TSA involved.
    3. TSA opens your luggage lock but then "you" open your lock box and somehow it gets determined the pistol is unloaded. Does the TSA agent work the action, or do you, or is it assumed to be empty?
    4. Once OK'd they (TSA) give you a card that "you" place inside the lock box and re-lock it. Then your luggage gets closed and re-locked by TSA?
    5. You go back to check-in and TSA takes your luggage containing the lock box.

    Do I have this anywhere near correct?

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  16. #30
    Member Array Andriss's Avatar
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    I think it depends on the airport. Yes, only you should have the key/combination/fingerprint to open the box. They can also x-ray your bag to determine that it's unloaded and in a locked container. The ticketing agent will give you the orange card before it goes to the TSA agent. This card can also simply just go in your luggage.

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