Checking firearms at the airport
The procedure for checking in firearms at Continental Airlines (which I usually fly to and from Houston) requires that you declare the handgun at the ticket counter before placing luggage with TSA for inspection. My experience has been that after declaring that there is a handgun in the luggage, I am given a tag and I then open the luggage and place the tag next to the handgun case inside the luggage. The luggage is then delivered to TSA where I again declare that there is a handgun in my luggage. TSA then checks the gun case inside the luggage, and they they may or may not have me to open the gun case, and they may or may not ask questions.
My last trip was somewhat embarrassing. When checking my luggage I informed the clerk that there was a firearm in my luggage that I needed to check. The clerk yells down the line within the hearing of everyone within 50 feet "I have a man who needs to check in a gun that he is carrying with him. What am I supposed to do?" Geez, there must be a better way.
I know this has come up before, but I will give my version of information to those who have not yet flown with Continental Airlines with their handgun.
1. The handgun (unloaded of course) and ammution must be placed inside of a locked gun case. I use the original box that my pistol came in. It has a hole for a cheap lock that I use. The case must be locked when you arrive, and will not be opened unless they request that you do so. Of course you need the key in the event that they want to inspect inside of the case.
2. Ammunition must be in a separate box inside of the same locked case and properly encased. So far I had had good luck with it inside of the original 50 round box.
3. The locked case with the firearm and ammunition is placed inside of the luggage.
4. Retrieving the luggage with the firearm at the end of the trip is no different from picking up any other luggage.
The Solutlion to The NYC Airports
IF your trip does not end or begin in NYC - and the end and beginning of your trip does fit under the 1986 law, there is a document you need to see and have with you.
Called the Don Young Letter
U. S. Department of Justice
Office of Legislative Affairs
Office of the Assistant Attorney General
Washington, D.C. 20530
February 18, 2005
The Honorable Don Young
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Young:
Thank you for your letter, dated June 18, 2003, to Admiral James M. Loy, then- Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), concerning the applicability of 18 U.S.C. section 926A to persons at airports in New York State who are taking flights to destinations outside of New York. Because section 926A is a provision of the Gun Control Act (GCA), which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) enforces, TSA forwarded your letter to the Department of Justice for response. We apologize for the delay in responding.
In your letter you explained that local police officers in New York have threatened several individuals at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Albany International Airport with arrest for firearms possession based on strict State laws, and that in at least one case the firearms were confiscated. You explained that: (1) the people carrying the firearms were not prohibited from possessing firearms under Federal law, (2) the people had apparently traveled directly, without any interruption in the transportation, to the airports from other States where they legally could possess firearms, (3) their firearms and ammunition were secured in accordance with all applicable regulations for airline travel, and (4) they were flying to other States or countries where they could legally possess firearms.
You then asked if TSA agrees that section 926A enables these travelers to possess the firearms legally in the New York airports and if so, if TSA would inform local police and prosecutors about this provision of the GCA. We appreciate your bringing this issue to our attention. The Department of Justice agrees that the provisions of section 926A apply to the situation set forth above assuming: (1) the person is traveling from somewhere he lawfully may possess and carry a firearm; (2) en route to the airport the firearm is unloaded and not accessible from the passenger compartment of his car; (3) the person transports the firearm directly from his vehicle to the airline check-in desk without any interuption in the transportation; and (4) while carrying the firearm to the check-in desk it is unloaded and in a locked container. This interpretation reflects the apparent congressional intent in enacting this provision, while allowing State and local law enforcement to continue to enforce their firearms laws aggressively to promote public safety. We will inform the applicable law enforcement authorities of our interpretation of section 926A.
We trust this information responds to your inquiry. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact this office.
William E. Moschella
Assistant Attorney General
it indicates that changes modes of transportation - plane to car/car to plane - are not a barrier that the NYC/Port Authority Police can ignore.