Checking firearms at the airport

Checking firearms at the airport

This is a discussion on Checking firearms at the airport within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; 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 ...

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Thread: Checking firearms at the airport

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array cwblanco's Avatar
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    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.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    Having flown with a handgun numerous times, I must say that I have not found it burdensome. A couple of times I have had to open the bag, and the gun case, show the clerk it was not loaded, and then replace it complete with tag. Sometimes there have been a fair number of folks in line, but no one ever commented or showed any interest.

    On one trip I then went to the TSA agent who inspected the gun, actually none have ever handled it but had me show that it was safe, and commented that my 642 was a very nice gun. l said it was a light carry gun, and he said it would do well in the pocket. All went well, and I have never had a single problem.

    Thanks for the post, and no doubt it is helpful to many.

    Regards,
    Jerry

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array bobcat35's Avatar
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    thank you for this information. it is going to come in handy in a few weeks when i take my block leave.
    "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result."
    -Winston Churchill
    Every well-bred petty crook knows: the small concealable weapons always go to the far left of the place setting.
    -Inara, firefly

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array Matthew Temkin's Avatar
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    At NYC airports they call over the Port Authority police to do the checking and to see if the gun owner is legally armed--legal in NYC or N.J. that is.
    Something to think about when flying through NYC with a gun.

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    Hint: Avoid all airports within 60 miles of NYC...U.S. Constitution is not recognized there
    Magazine <> clip - know the difference

    martyr is a fancy name for crappy fighter
    You have never lived until you have almost died. For those that have fought for it, life has a special flavor the protected will never know

  6. #6
    Member Array LMarshall73's Avatar
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    My understanding of TSA regs indicates that the ammunition must NOT be in the same case as the gun, but must be securely enclosed (meaining no portion of the bullet is visible). I place my Glock 27 and KelTec P3AT in THIS and place the loaded magazines in pouches a couple of layers of clothes below it. The airports where I had difficulty were Detroit and Little Rock. In Little Rock, when I explained the TSA regs to the TSA employee that was supposed to check my bag, she replied, "Well, that ain't how we do it at LIT." I responded that it didn't matter what airport I was at, as TSA regs were Federal. She went ahead and ran the bag through the scanner, while I was standing there with the TSA lock and declaration tag IN MY HAND. A TSA supervisor overheard and had an airline employee retrieve my bag, and then he and I both explained and demonstrated to the employee how to check that a firearm is clear. Detroit was, well, Detroit.

  7. #7
    Member Array libertarian5's Avatar
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    +1 on that. Ammo in original packaging inside the luggage. Put a rubber band on the box so it can't open and spill. Gun in locked case. TSA lock on luggage is a good idea, but never put a TSA lock on the firearm. I've done this dozens of times with no problems whatsoever. I bring my Kimber in locked open condition, mag out and empty, so it is easy for the clerk to verify it is unlocked. TSA has always wanted to see it before letting it go.

    Put your cell phone number on a tag on the gun box, just in case someone wants to talk to you about it. (Never happened to me yet)

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by libertarian5 View Post
    +1 on that. Ammo in original packaging inside the luggage. Put a rubber band on the box so it can't open and spill. Gun in locked case. TSA lock on luggage is a good idea, but never put a TSA lock on the firearm. I've done this dozens of times with no problems whatsoever. I bring my Kimber in locked open condition, mag out and empty, so it is easy for the clerk to verify it is unlocked. TSA has always wanted to see it before letting it go.

    Put your cell phone number on a tag on the gun box, just in case someone wants to talk to you about it. (Never happened to me yet)

    {Put your cell phone number on a tag on the gun box, just in case someone wants to talk to you about it.}
    Hey, that is a great idea.
    Thanks,
    Jerry

  9. #9
    Ex Member Array Joe R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Temkin View Post
    At NYC airports they call over the Port Authority police to do the checking and to see if the gun owner is legally armed--legal in NYC or N.J. that is.
    Something to think about when flying through NYC with a gun.
    If your airport of origin or destination is in NYC, one had BEST have a NYC handgun license or one will face arrest. No exceptions.

    The same applies in the rest of NY, except there are exceptions for hunting or formal target shooting or handgun training events. Best have documentation (hunting license, hunting trip booking, match program, traning class admission form, etc.) to prove your need of a handgun.

    Just bringing in a handgun to have along (even if not concealed) into NY state is illegal without a NYS pistol license and they don't give those out like candy.

    However, regardless of what NYC Port Authority Police thinks, someone connecting through NYC airports, with his origin and destination elsewhere, is covered by the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986.

    Don't expect NYC police to respect Federal law when it doesn't suit them, though.

    Best advice is to avoid that place at all, for any reason.

  10. #10
    Member Array GHFLRLTD's Avatar
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    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

    http://www.anjrpc.org/DefendingYourR...s%20letter.pdf

    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.

    Sincerely,





    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.
    George H. Foster
    Orlando, Florida

  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array C9H13NO3's Avatar
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    I'll be flying on the 26th with my handgun checked. What is the 1986 law? I will be traveling from CA to WA though...probably nothing for me to worry about?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array Rossman's Avatar
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    Great Posts!!

  13. #13
    Member Array Puppy's Avatar
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    Question! Why would anyone want to go to N.Y.?
    Paymeister likes this.

  14. #14
    Member Array fsufanaz's Avatar
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    I check a handgun on round trip from Phoenix to Tallahhassee through Atlanta on Delta. On both ends I gave what I consider a soft declaration. I first call the airline employee by name(they have these nice name tags), and state " I have an unloaded firearm to declare in my checked luggage". Both time they asked to see the firearm which was in a center of mass case with the cable wrapped around the frame of the suitcase. They both asked me to sign the tag to state it was unloaded. I then took it to TSA and basically repeated the same statement as I did to the airlines, they put my bag at the head of the line and when it passed through they told me I could go.
    The whole thing was very painless. I was worried as this was the first time I had flown with a firearm but I will do it more often now. In the past I have FEDEXed to myself at the hotel and it has been pretty easy as well. Both work, just do the one you are comfortable with.

    Ed
    US Navy Retired Silent Service

    The real test of a man is not when he plays the role he wants for himself, but when he plays the role destiny has for him.
    Vaclav Havel

  15. #15
    Distinguished Member Array Squawker's Avatar
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    First, thanks GHFLRLTD, for the Don Young letter. There's now a copy on my hard drive. As far as flying with handguns checked in luggage, I've flown a few times with a few guns, between Las Vegas and BWI. It's always so far been on Southwest. Each time, I've checked the guns at the desk, and told the agent that I was flying with handguns. The first time, I was asked to open the case, the second, I wasn't. I filled out the card each time, and put the case back in my luggage. Then, regardless whether it was Vegas or BWI, the bags have then been placed on the conveyor, just as normal baggage, and I didn't see them again until I picked them up at the other end. I've never gone to see a TSA agent at either airport. With the exception of going inside instead of using curb side check in, and having to open my bag, there really hasn't been any difference between travelling with and without handguns.
    As far as NYC, I don't ever want to go there again, with or without hand guns. The only chance that I would have of going there with my guns, would be in the event that the flight was diverted. I'll always have a copy of the Don Young letter with me, any time I fly to the east coast, just in case. I've read horror stories of people arrested in NYC because there were guns in their luggage, and the flight had been diverted to NYC. While I have the highest regard for law enforcement in general, the NYPD are fascists when it comes to hand guns.

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