This is a discussion on Traveling with a CCW - My First Time within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; When I go by commercial airline I confirm with carrier I they allow firearm transport in checked luggage. If they do not I select a ...
When I go by commercial airline I confirm with carrier I they allow firearm transport in checked luggage. If they do not I select a different carrier for my ticket.
As far as a basic and acceptable container for my pistol I use an inexpensive padlock to lock an inexpensive metal electrical wiring/fuse box like those available at HomeDepot or Lowes.
Total cost for both items = less than ten dollars.
Glock 33 .357 SIG plus .40 S&W barrel for most of practice. Keep loaded with .357 SIG hollow point for home protection.
RugerLCP .380 equipped with Crimson Trace for everyday carry.
In Seattle WA and San Diego CA, there's a TSA area out in the open near the airline counters where they screen your luggage while you stand there watching (Newark NJ has this too). In San Diego, they were more interested in swabbing and electronically sniffing a bottle of wine than in my gun box. Once you're cleared, they send you on your way and have a skycap or somebody take the luggage on to wherever it goes. Unfortunately, even though I checked in 2 hours early at San Diego, the bag with the gun in it missed my flight, was put on the next one, and arrived at my destination 45 minutes after I did, gun (and wine) intact.
None of the airline people from multiple carriers in these different cities asked to open the gun box to check that it was unloaded.
Clinging to guns and God in PA...
I finally hit my first snag. I checked in at the counter in Detroit. The agent called someone when I told her I had an unloaded firearm in my checked bag. After hanging up the phone, she said she no longer had to escort me to TSA, so she scoped Mr Kimber in my COM safe, then told me to put the orange tag inside the COM safe as I had been doing at each check-in so far on the multi-state trip. She sent the bag on its way after I locked it up.
I stopped for breakfast and thought I heard some announcements on the PA system, but I couldn't hear them well. I paid for breakfast and went the 100 yeards to the gate only to see two of Detroit's finest talking to the agent and looking around. It clicked.....
I walked up the female officer and said, "Are you looking for me?" She asked me my name, I told her, and she said "Heck, yes." She then called over the other officer and they asked if I had failed to notify the ticketing agent of a weapon in my checked bag. I said I had notified the agent and had signed the card that she then placed in my gun safe per airline regulations. He said TSA had screened my bag, saw the weapon, and then rifled my bag. As instructed, I had the key on my person and it was NOT a TSA universal style lock. They had wanted to see the card.
The LEOs told me to accompany them. They called a TSA supervisor in the bowels of the luggage area, then escorted me to a point just shy of the screening area and asked for the key. They went off to give it to the TSA supervisor. We stood around waiting. The male officer then asked for my driver's license. I said I then needed to also show him my CHP as we were at the "show me your ID" phase. I also dug out my retired military ID.
He was writing all this down on his notepad when the TSA supervisor emerged with my keys and told me they found the card, but that in the future, I need to place it outside the safe in my luggage. I told him I must have misread the regulations. The policeman then says, "The guy has a ccw [sic], he's fine."
After some discussion, the TSA supervisor told me he really likes my Kimber and asked if he should drop in his old Glock in its place. I took that as a compliment. He asked me what I paid for it and if I like it.
After chuckles and handshakes all around, I hustle back to the plane to find out I missed out on a free upgrade to first class. Dang.
Other than all that, all was fine. I liked the part when the LEO sees my NC CHP and says to the TSA guy that I am fine since I have a CHP, even though that really had no bearing on this scenario.
So what's the rule - in the safe or outside? I understand the point about not being able to get the orange card.
Of course, an unloaded handgun in one's luggage is absolutely no issue for passenger safety. Just ask Richard Reid - the dipwad who still makes me take off my shoes before boarding.
One more step and it's on!
The regulations are quite clear on what to do. The snafus come into play when the ticket agent gets creative with the rules (or doesn't KNOW the rules and wings it) and you have your Detroit situation.
There is a list of acceptable ID cards and I'm not sure if the retired military ID is one of them. Not debating whether it should be, but the list is the list. I'd check it out for next time.
I've served previously as a senior exec at TSA in both DC and at two major US airports. The "goobers" are very well trained, but in like any job, you'll occasionally get someone who is new or has never experienced a firearm in transit situation. So what do we do?
We are calm, respectful and we educate the folks that are new. Great job on the Detroit issue. It was a win/win for everyone concerned.
While everyone has individual airport experiences, I can tell you that firearms are always interesting stories. Ask any TSA Federal Security Directors and he/she will have stories that will stand your hair on end. It's just AMAZING what people, in THIS day and age, will try to take on an airplane.
If you travel with your firearm on commercial airlines, you should KNOW the TSA regulation on shipment and it's not a bad idea to keep a copy in your gun safe.
Certified Glock Armorer
NRA RSO, Instructor
Independence is declared; it must be maintained. Sam Houston-3/2/1836
If loose gun laws are good for criminals why do criminals support gun control?
That makes more sense than putting it inside a locked box where no one could see it.
You should have seen the looks I got as I was being escorted from the gate by two armed Detroit police officers.
Thanks for the feedback.
Here's a story about the Detroit airport. This happened a couple of years ago. A customer had flown into Detroit and while he was in the airport waiting for his next flight some jerk pushed through or around the screening line and metal detector at a full run.
He got down the concourse before anyone could stop him. Since no one knew if he was armed or crazy or just late for a flight they grounded ALL planes, had EVERYONE leave the sterile area of the airport and go through the metal detectors again. This backed up the airport for HOURS and I am sure caused major problems at many of the airports with connecting flights. All because some idiot couldn't wait his turn. Luckily for him the police caught him and snuck him out the back way or he probably would have been torn to pieces by an angry mob.
In the Seattle portion of my recent trip (see post #18 above) the TSA agent taped the orange card to my COM safe with some TSA tape. He said he wanted to make sure that if a secondary screener opened the bag the card would be right there. He was a cool guy who talked guns with me for a bit.
I also have my business card taped to the outside of the COM with a couple of strips of wide clear packing tape (so it's totally encased) so they can call my cell if necessary.
Clinging to guns and God in PA...