"Good morning, would you please get a TSA agent and a supervisor? I have a firearm to declare."
"I have a gun!"
This is a discussion on Advice on flying with firearms within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Right: "Good morning, would you please get a TSA agent and a supervisor? I have a firearm to declare." Wrong: "I have a gun!" --- ...
I've done it several times with different airlines and never had a problem. I'd recommend you aways check the TSA and your airline's websites before you pack your firearm because things can and do change. I'd never take a firearm to any gun-unfirendly state (CA, IL, NY, NJ, MD, etc.) but then I can't think of any reason why I'd want to go to any of those places anyway.
Last edited by arniejen; April 8th, 2008 at 09:32 AM.
"The world is a dangerous place — not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." — Albert Einstein
Having traveled a number of times, here's how I go at it:
- Put the unloaded weapon(s) in a lockable hard-sided case with locks only you have the keys to open. TSA locks are not allowed.
- Check the airline(s) you are flying on:
- Determine if the ammo MUST be in boxes OR can fly in loaded magazines.
- If loaded magazines are permitted, make sure the pouches fully cover the magazines.
- The round from the pipe(s) must be in a box, not loose.
- Secure and protect magazines and ammunition boxes from possible damage.
- Put the lockable hard-sided case with the weapon and the ammo/magazines into a cheap, non-descript bag - with clear labeling outside and inside - for checking in. The labeling should be limited to:
- Your Name
- Your Cell Phone - if you have one, or your home phone if you do not
- Your personal email address - if you have one
- NO ADDRESSES, JOB TITLES, ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD BE INDICATED
- Other stuff - like shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste, etc, could be in this checked bag also.
- Check this non-descript bag at the airport. Have the rules for the airline in hand.
- Make sure you have the keys to the lockable hard-sided case with you and you alone (Per Federal Regulations § 1540.111 Carriage of weapons, explosives, and incendiaries by individuals - Electronic Code of Federal Regulations:) at all times. You will have to open the lockable hard-side case to demonstrate to the airline that the weapon(s) are not loaded at check in, and if the TSA wants to see.
- Have the serial number(s) and descriptions of your weapons on you, so if they "disappear" you can report the loss/theft to the airline, the FAA Regional Office, and the ATF Regional Office immediately.
Other things to consider:
- Check Handgunlaw.us to determine:
- If you can possess the weapon at all your stops.
- Where and how you can carry at all your stops.
- What are the deadly force rules in each state you are visiting.
- Have a copy of the Don Young Transportation Letter on hand - http://www.anjrpc.org/DefendingYourR...s%20letter.pdf. This covers changing modes of travel - car to plane to car - in a single journey.
George H. Foster
I will be flying from Florida to Ohio this Summer.
I have researched and made copies of the Reciprocity agreement between the two states and copy of the Carry Laws in the State of Ohio. I found out they are MUCH stricter than the carry laws here in Florida.
I have also made copies of Delta Airline firearm transport policies and of the two sites listed below.
The first is the US law stating that they CANNOT put and ID tag ON my luggage. I don't want it to be made a target for theft.
The second site is the TSA's website.
With the info from my airline, the TSA, and the US law, I do not expect any problems.
TSA: Traveling with Special Items
NRA Life Member
Florida Concealed Weapon License holder
I had go go back to the TSA and open my case, as the said they were loaded. What the "found" was empty mags in the 2 pistols. I told them they were not loaded and empty. they told me if I do want to go through this everytime, have the mag laying next to the pistols. Done that ever sense and no more problems in about 15 trips.
1942 M3 Autocar Half-track...M3A1 Diamond T Half-track...57mm Anti-Tank Cannon
NRA Endowment Member...President West TN Military Vehicle Collectors...MVPA Member
I always worry about the people rifling through your luggage. You have to keep it unlocked, unless it is a TSA lock, and I've had stuff disappear before. It seems like a locked case, in a piece of luggage, with the orange tag would be very tempting bait for luggage inspectors with low moral standards.
Has anyone ever lost a handgun this way?
I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop!!
Politically Incorrect Self Defense
I always take it one step further - I keep the slide locked back and the empty mags sitting next to the gun. That way there's no question that the gun is unloaded. By the way I use a cheap DoskoSport carrier and lock it with a standard Master lock or my handcuffs (don't ask). I always keep a copy of the law (not TSA 'recommendations") with the appropriate sections highlited. I've only had problems once, but showing the TSA Supervisor a copy of the law solved everything.
When seconds count, help is minutes away!
The Continental site said that in addition to being in a hard-sided locked case, the luggage itself had to be hard-sided to carry a handgun. Since I needed a new medium sized suitcase anyway, I went to 4 stores unsuccessfully looking for one. I took my chances with the airline and it was not an issue (I got the standard black, roller bag that looks just like everybody else's at the baggage claim carousel).
I use a Center-Of-Mass lockbox, with the cable threaded through the metal telescoping handle rails inside the suitcase. The Continental rep wanted to put the orange tag inside the COM, which I know is not correct (so did the baggage handler who escorted me to the TSA station). The TSA reps asked if the gun was unloaded and the "clips" (I know) empty with the ammo in original packaging, and told me how often LEOs who travel show up with loaded firearms.
I was in compliance with all that, but had to wait for another TSA rep who did the actual inspection. The airline rep had to wait there with me until the actual inspector arrived. He was EXTREMELY thorough, feeling the foam in the COM to ensure nothing else was hidden behind it, feeling all around the inside of the bag, and examining every zipper pocket. When he was done, he looped the string from the orange tag around the locking mechanism in the COM and left the tag hanging out when he relocked the case.
That's it - no drama, very professional. I didn't tell anybody I had actually stayed with relatives in NJ the night before my flight. And I left the hollow points at home and bought some Federal Expanding Full Metal Jacket (EFMJ) for the trip, just in case...
Clinging to guns and God in PA...
Let me get this straight...my wife and I will be flying to Harrisburg, PA at the end of the month with our handguns. Do I need to pull the slide open and run the cable lock thru the grip and ejector(SA XD-45's) and lock it in the manufacturer case AND lock the case as well with my own lock(TSA approved or not)? This will be a first for us and we will be on USAir.
Clinging to guns and God in PA...
You won't need the cable lock. I just lock the slide back. By the way - I never use TSA locks anywhere. I just tell them that I'll hang around if they need me. They seldom do.
When seconds count, help is minutes away!
Flew earlier this month from Texas to Florida and my case was lost after declaring and checking my bag at the Ticket counter. American Airlines has still been unable to locate locked case. Today I went through the process of filling out the lost baggage claim form that is required to be turned in no more than 30 days from the date of the trip. At least the gun that was lost was a Kel-Tec and not something more expensive. So far everyone I have talked to at American Airlines has beem very professional but getting this resolved is yet to be seen.