Air Travel With Handguns

This is a discussion on Air Travel With Handguns within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have traveled with handguns before, but I put the handguns in the same case with a shotgun or rifle. If I am not taking ...

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Thread: Air Travel With Handguns

  1. #1
    Member Array Stoner's Avatar
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    Air Travel With Handguns

    I have traveled with handguns before, but I put the handguns in the same case with a shotgun or rifle. If I am not taking a long-gun, can I carry the handgun in a lockable handgun case and declare the firearm at the ticket counter and put the locked handgun case inside my suitcase with my other clothes provide I put the ammunition in a separate suitcase?

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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array noway2's Avatar
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    My understanding is that per federal law, you are allowed to lock your guns with a conventional lock. The airline is not allowed to place any labels on the bag indicating that there is a gun stored there. You could put the case inside of a normal suitcase, but you could also use the law to place all of your luggage in a hard case and place a lock on it.

    See the following link: Packing & the Friendly Skies There is also a video on the subject. The first 15 minutes or so is the important part.

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    VIP Member Array Sticks's Avatar
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    TSA policy here

    Also check your airline since they have their own policies. They are all pretty much the same, but have varying rules on ammunition.
    Sticks

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    VIP Member Array Sticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noway2 View Post
    My understanding is that per federal law, you are allowed to lock your guns with a conventional lock. The airline is not allowed to place any labels on the bag indicating that there is a gun stored there. You could put the case inside of a normal suitcase, but you could also use the law to place all of your luggage in a hard case and place a lock on it.

    See the following link: Packing & the Friendly Skies There is also a video on the subject. The first 15 minutes or so is the important part.
    It was my understanding that TSA was not allowed to mark you luggage externally either, but I can not find that little tidbit anywhere.
    Sticks

    Grasseater // Grass~eat~er noun, often attributive \ˈgras-ē-tər\
    A person who is incapable of independent thought; a person who is herd animal-like in behavior; one who cannot distinguish between right and wrong; a foolish person.
    See also Sheep

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    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    It was my understanding that TSA was not allowed to mark you luggage externally either, but I can not find that little tidbit anywhere.
    27 CFR 478.31 says:
    Outside Tags - 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.

    you can google it, I did.
    Rats!
    It could be worse!
    I suppose

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    Senior Member Array bbqgrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoner View Post
    If I am not taking a long-gun, can I carry the handgun in a lockable handgun case and declare the firearm at the ticket counter and put the locked handgun case inside my suitcase with my other clothes provide I put the ammunition in a separate suitcase?
    Yes, I always put my handgun case inside of my suitcase; also, you can store/pack ammo in the same case as your firearm, you just have to properly pack the ammo. Unless, the airline has more strict rules.
    "To believe that social reforms can eradicate evil altogether is to forget that evil is a protean creature, forever assuming a new shape when deprived of an old one." - SAT

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    Something to add here - last time I flew with firearms, I put my defensive ammo into one of those plastic compartmented cases that you get at the sporting goods stores (reloaders use them). I had disposed of the original boxes for the ammo, and I have learned to always take defensive ammo with me as it is not always easy to get.

    I also learned that the baggage tag has an indicator that a firearm is inside the bag. It's not visible in words, just in the code. My bag had to be relabeled because the original girl who did the tag did not know I had declared the firearm. So, it is on there for the airlines to see if they scan the code on the bag tag.

    I had three handguns last time, a new record, they did not seem to mind.

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    Senior Member Array swinokur's Avatar
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    I also learned that the baggage tag has an indicator that a firearm is inside the bag. It's not visible in words, just in the code. My bag had to be relabeled because the original girl who did the tag did not know I had declared the firearm. So, it is on there for the airlines to see if they scan the code on the bag tag.
    Please provide a cite for this. I have a friend who is a commercial pilot and he tells me there is nothing on his paperwork that indicates a firearm is in luggage. The airline is in violation of a Federan statute quoted if they did what you say.
    27 CFR 478.31 says:
    Outside Tags - 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.

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    Member Array Stoner's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information. It only makes sense that you could pack your locked gun case and put it inside one of your larger suitcases; as long as you check the gun at the ticket counter. I fly Southwest Airlines whenever I can and there is no charge for the first two checked bags, it would be a waste to check the gun case by itself when you could pack it in a larger bag.

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    27 CFR 478.31 says:
    Outside Tags - 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.
    I also learned that the baggage tag has an indicator that a firearm is inside the bag. It's not visible in words, just in the code. My bag had to be relabeled because the original girl who did the tag did not know I had declared the firearm. So, it is on there for the airlines to see if they scan the code on the bag tag.
    On at least two occasions when flying with firearms, my boarding pass was hand-marked with some letter or letters, as was my baggage receipt. I don't recall for certain, but I believe the airline was Delta. Southwest seems to be the one airline with a consistent "ho-hum, no big deal" about firearm carriage.
    Smitty
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    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    I **STRONGLY** advise anyone who flies with a firearm in checked baggage to NOT do so in a soft-sided type suitcase that closes via a zipper. Even if the 2 zips are the type that can be locked together, it is EXTREMELY simple and easy to break into your bag and leave no evidence that it was done until you find out your gun is missing.

    I have posted this video before and I am posting it again because this is something we all must be aware of. Only use a hard sided suitcase that has latches and actually LOCKS!

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    Hi Swinokur,
    I don't have a cite. I can tell you that I flew out of the Minneapolis airport on Oct 20 on United. When I went to the desk I told them I had an item to declare. The person that helped me then went to talk to another person about how to handle this. In the meantime, another person started generating my bag tag. When the original person came back, the bag tagger realized that I was declaring a firearm in the bag, and then said that the tag had to be redone, which she did.

    So, from that I assumed that there is something about the bag tag that must be done differently when you are declaring a firearm. And from that I assumed that the airlines or whomever could then scan that tag and get information on the bag, including the declaration of the firearm.

    I've assumed wrong before and quite possibly there is no connection to the tag and the firearm. It just seemed so on that day. So I should probably not have passed that along here.

    In fact maybe I'll just delete that whole post, it really is based on too many assumptions to matter a hill of beans............ok then that is not working for me, can't edit as I think I posted that as Cammo Girl then changed to just plain old Cammo.

    C

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    sorry my friend but what you've posted is nonsense.
    The TSA has to have access to your suitcase, it cannot be locked with anything but a TSA approved lock that the TSA can open.
    there are master keys for the TSA and you can be sure that the BGs have the keys as well.
    I have always traveled with my guns in unlocked soft sided luggage. if the gun gets stolen there;s not too much I can do about it.

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apvbguy View Post
    sorry my friend but what you've posted is nonsense.
    The TSA has to have access to your suitcase, it cannot be locked with anything but a TSA approved lock that the TSA can open.
    there are master keys for the TSA and you can be sure that the BGs have the keys as well.
    I have always traveled with my guns in unlocked soft sided luggage. if the gun gets stolen there;s not too much I can do about it.
    Not true. In fact, I have been told by TSA agents that it is best NOT to use the locks with the TSA logo on them. And there is no rule or regulation that requires you to use a "TSA approved" lock. The master key thing is BS. They have a master key that works on any and all locks. It's a big honkin set of government issue bolt cutters. And they will use them if they feel the need to do so.

    Here is the text from their website on how to fly with a firearm in your checked bags.

    You may only transport firearms, ammunition and firearm parts in your checked baggage. Firearms, ammunition and firearm parts are prohibited from carry-on baggage.

    Failure to adhere to the following regulations will preclude passengers from traveling with firearms, ammunitions or firearm parts:

    Travelers must declare all firearms, ammunition, and parts to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
    The firearm must be unloaded.
    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 being accessed. Cases that can be pulled open with little effort cannot be brought aboard the aircraft.
    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.
    TSA must resolve all alarms on checked luggage. If a locked container carrying a firearm alarms, 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.
    Travelers must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging that is specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
    Travelers may not use firearm magazines/clips for packing ammunition unless they completely and securely enclose the ammunition (e.g., by securely covering the exposed portions of the magazine or by securely placing the magazine in a pouch, holder, holster or lanyard).
    Ammunition may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as it follows packing guidelines described above.
    TSA prohibits black powder or percussion caps used with black-powder.

    These regulations are strictly enforced. Violations can result in criminal prosecution and civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.

    Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Therefore, travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.

    Also, please note that other countries have different laws that address transportation and possession of firearms. If you are traveling internationally, please check regulations at your destination about their requirements.
    Last edited by TN_Mike; October 29th, 2011 at 08:10 PM. Reason: spelling
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    l_--- \___l---[]lllllll[]
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  16. #15
    Member Array JasoninSD's Avatar
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    I frequently fly with a handgun in my checked bag. There are the TSA regulations that should apply at every airport but it seems that there are different interpretations at every different airport and airline. You should not need to demponstrate that the handgun is unloaded but a few days ago I was asked just that by the gate agent. Sometimes I need to put the declaration form in the pistol case and other times it goes in the suitcase with the pistol case. Sometimes TSA will want to dig through my underwear and other times they will just x-ray the bag and I will be on my way.

    Anyway, the general procedure for me is to put the pistol into a small hard sided case and then put that in a locked hard sided suitcase. I would strongly recommend a Storm or Pelican case as your suitcase. Then that is locked with non-T&A padlocks. This also gives me the advantage of knowing that everything is locked securely in my suitcase and can not easily be stolen by TSA or the baggage handlers. Also the Storm or Pelican cases are almost indestructable. I never worry about damage to my suitcase.

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