Checking guns at the airport...

This is a discussion on Checking guns at the airport... within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; We've all heard the horror stories of checking guns in at the airport and even seen some of the stories posted here. Some of them ...

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Thread: Checking guns at the airport...

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    Checking guns at the airport...

    We've all heard the horror stories of checking guns in at the airport and even seen some of the stories posted here. Some of them are bad enough that it might make one reconsider trying it just to avoid the hassle. The thing is, when you are traveling in new territory, having a gun might save your life and due to the unknowns, it may be all you have to rely on.

    Its one thing to know what areas to avoid on your home turf, its another thing entirely when you are traveling and don't have a clue. A cell-phone is a pretty common thing to carry nowadays, but if you don't know where you are at for sure, it wont do you much good if bad things happen, so its probably not a good idea to depend on it .

    So, this is a story of a different type.

    I spent the last several days in a beautiful city a long ways off at the request of my wife. She was invited to attend a conference as the state representative as a result of her and her students winning several state competitions of what is known as "We the People" a competition that involves knowing the functions of Government and how it works. She is the Dept. Head for the Civics/History Dept at her school where she has been teaching for over 30 years.

    Since she got an all expense paid trip I elected to go with her. I also elected to take one of my Sigs, this time a Sig 225 that I dearly love for its conceal ability and accuracy. When I wear it, it hides so well that even my wife, who has a tendency to look, wont notice it most of the time.

    Since we were flying with American Airlines round trip, I looked up their website and looked up the section of flying with "restricted" items. Guns were one of them. I stared to call them up and ask for advice, but figured that the website info ought to work and I decided to try it and if it didn't, I'd just have to suffer through it.

    I went to Walmart and got a matching set Master padlocks, put my Sig in its original plastic container and locked each corner. I put two unloaded magazines in a leather mag case and since the rules stated that ammo must be in the original box, I found a box and put the cartridges in it. I placed all in the suitcase, put a key in my pocket and gave the other to my wife and on we went.

    We couldn't use the curbside baggage check since we had a restricted item, so we had to wait in line. Our turn came up, I placed the suitcase on the weight table right there and told the clerk that I had an unloaded handgun to declare. She asked me if it was locked and unloaded and I replied that it was. She asked me to open it. In the meantime, there are 30 or so people standing in line and wondering what the heck is going on.

    So, I unlocked the two locks, and she looked in it and told me to lock it back up. She handed me a white slip to sign and place on top of the case and then we zipped up the suitcase and she put placed it on the conveyor. The whole process might have taken and extra minute...maybe. So far so good. I really didn't have to rack the slide or even prove that it was unloaded, she just took my word for it. That surprised me a bit. My wife mentioned that she thought it was easy because this was Arkansas and that it might be different where we were going. I had to admit, I thought she might be right.

    We spent 4 fun filled days in a nice city, I carried everywhere and didn't notice anyone that even gave me an extra glance.

    Soon it was time to check back into the airport and make the trip back home. This time, we waited in line. I told the woman that I had a handgun to declare and she stated that I should have told her earlier as she had "paperwork to fill out". "How would I know to do that" I asked? She just gave me a crazy look and didn't say anything.I put the suitcase on the weigh scale and opened it up. She then asked me if it was locked and I showed her that it was. As I was removing the key from my pocket she said that she didn't need to see it, just sign here. I had to sign the same kind of ticket that I did in Arkansas that certified the gun as being unloaded. I got the impression, as did my wife, that she was a bit uncomfortable with it and just wanted to get it out of the way.

    That whole endeavor might have taken a total of 2 extra minutes.

    So, there ya have it. It certainly wasn't the hassle that I expected or read about many times. I suppose the process has been refined enough that its pretty much cut and dried. We had to layover in Dallas for a couple of hours, and the luggage was automatically forwarded to our next flight. Two checks were done. One at the start, and one at the finish. All went without a hitch.

    If you are flying, you owe to yourself and your family to bring your carry gun. Make sure that you have reciprocity and that it is legal to go armed there and know the laws of the state you are in.

    You may find that its not the big hassle that you may have thought it was.
    The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it...- George Orwell

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  3. #2
    JD
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    Just did it today flying out of IA back to VA, not an issue at all; pretty much like Hotguns summed up, I don't think I've ever had an issue checking my guns. Turns out my coworker that was standing behind me is interested in getting a pistol, I plan on taking them shooting while we're in VA.

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    I sacraficed a box of .40 target ammo at Northworst's ticket counter one morning. It was a Monday morning (long busy lines) and I didn't have the their policy printed out and in my possesion. She believed I could not have my factory packaged ammo in the same case with my glock that was cable locked, and the hard case locked as well. She said I had to put the ammo in a second checked bag that would cost me $25. Since I didn't have the time to argue with her or the desire to make a scene (which is rare for me), I just gave her the box and went on my way. This was about two years ago and ammo was a little cheaper.

    Funny, she wasn't an anti or uncomfortable. She was telling me about the '9' that he had. I'd guess about 10% of the ticket agents I've come across have been nervous and uncomfortable.
    "Run for your life from the man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another-their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun."

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    I've flown a few times with a pistol. Once in Houston on the way back home the counter clerk got kind of snooty with me once I declared, etc. I'm guessing she was anti since her attitude and facial expressions showed some dislike for me after that (oh well). Once on a return trip from Dallas the guy checking me in told me I couldn't have ammo in same bag as firearm (southwest), and I told him that its ok with TSA and Southwest, its on your (SW) website. He pulls up their website on his terminal and I have to show him where it says its ok and things went well after that.

    I don't really get concerned with people waiting in line behind me or seeing firearms, etc. (especially now that I'm LEO LOL)
    If they'd do the same our society would be better off.

    Always a good idea to check out TSA's website and your airline's website and you should be ok.
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    I fly quit a bit, and I always go to the company’s website and print off the info. I had to show the agent the print out last Monday on a flight. Just always have it with you and usually no problem.

    I had a TSA officer get a little stupid once. I had my Keltec 380, and my wife’s Keltec 32 in a locked had side case, showed ticket agent they were not loaded, she put tag in box, and I locked everything up. I get paged to report to TSA area. The TSA guy tells me my "guns" are loaded, I tell him, no they are not. The ammo is in my wife’s bag, and the pistols are in my bag, and I had showed them to the ticket agent. He had me open everything up and said "see they're loaded". The mags were in both pistols but they were not loaded. He said the mags need to be out of the "gun". I ask he were the rules state that....He tells me if I do not want to get stopped EVERY TIME I need to have mags lying next to the pistol. So I make sure they are next to my pistols now......Sometimes it's just easier to wave the white flag......
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    We flew out west in November, and had similar experience. All Good

    The only confusion, was rather or not to put the red tag inside the gun case, or outside. Orlando said outside so TSA would see it if they open the suitcase and was even nice enough to walk the suitcase over to TSA and tell the agent there was a declared pistol inside. He asked me to open the suitcase, and upon inspecting the red tag, he closed the suitcase backup, and placed it on the conveyor belt.

    On our return flight, we flew out of Vegas and it was here the check-in clerk asked that I place the red tag inside the gun case. I stated that TSA in Florida had just told me that since it was inside a suitcase, the red card should be on the outside, of the gun case. She got a little irritated but then said well, and placed the suitcase on the conveyer belt.

    As hotguns said “it’s best to use an original manufacture ammo box for transport. TSA did not even question it. And I too used double Master locks and locked my pistol in it’s original plastic case.

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    Thanks HOTGUNS, it's always nice to hear about the good stories too.
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    That's good news on the check-in, and timely for me as I'm flying to Tampa out of Phoenix Friday am for a class this weekend and was thinking of taking the guns with me [ trainer and carry glock while there ].

    I'm going to try this and when I get back from Fla next Tuesday, I'll update this thread with my own experiences as well.

    Thanks

    Brownie
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    I'll update this thread with my own experiences as well.
    Heck yeah! Good idea.

    Lets see if its a regional thing or if it really is no big deal everywhere else...as it should be.
    The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it...- George Orwell

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    Senior Member Array HowardCohodas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tankdriver View Post
    Sometimes it's just easier to wave the white flag......
    If there is sufficient time, it is fun to turn it into a teachable moment.
    Howard
    I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop!!
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    Member Array joelg's Avatar
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    Really makes one wonder about who's watching the store...could tell some tales about women in berkas versus a business type -- who got strip searched and who walked away unscathed...political correctness. Judging by the stories here, one has to wonder about training, communications, experience...and guess who has the authority to jam you up if you disagree - even politely...??!!!
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    I fly on company business a minimum of once per month. Well, truth be told, I work over 1000 miles from home, and get to fly home and see the family, etc. once per month on the company dime. I fly with a firearm regularly, mostly because my favorite carry guns are all in TX, and not at home.

    Sometimes the ticket agents want to see the gun locked in the case, sometimes not. Some of the agents and or TSA officers have asked me to pull the slide back to lock to show it's unloaded, some haven't.

    I've only once had a problem, and that was quickly corrected. I was flying from College Station TX to Evansville IN. When I checked in at CS, they made me open the case, rack the slide, etc. The TSA guy was not real sure of what he was doing, other then that he knew it was unloaded. The ammo was all in original boxes (in the firearms case BTW) and there were 2 snap caps sitting loose in the case with the Glock.

    The TSA agent who looked at the pistol walked down to talk to another TSA guy, and happened to mention that I had loose "ammo" in the case. The Senior TSA guy said that it couldn't fly that way, the ammo had to be in a case. When the TSA guys came back down the counter to inform me of the development, I pointed out the snap caps were not energetic, they were for dry firing practice, to prevent wear and tear on the firing pins.

    TSA guy said, then you're all good, have a pleasant flight.

    My one and only fear is flying through Chicago, and what happens if I miss a plane in the city...and have to get my luggage back?

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    Senior Member Array tankdriver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HowardCohodas View Post
    If there is sufficient time, it is fun to turn it into a teachable moment.
    Naw,

    He was letting me know HE had the power, and it was at the airport I fly out of all the time........
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    Senior Member Array HowardCohodas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tankdriver View Post
    Naw,

    He was letting me know HE had the power, and it was at the airport I fly out of all the time........
    I think you're right. My wife thinks you're right. But sometimes good sense gets the better of me and I wade in fearlessly where I should have had fear.
    Howard
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    Politically Incorrect Self Defense

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    I always take at least 2 handguns with me whenever I travel unless either they're not legal at my destination, or there's a chance I may be diverted to New York due to weather. I've never had a problem, and only have to open the case about half the time. I suppose that I'll start printing off the airline's policies, to carry with me in case I run into one of the problems mentioned. Of course, I'm the type who, if confronted with an agent giving me a hassle (who's wrong), I'll simply say "well, lets just see what your supervisor has to say about it. Get him/her over her now! I would also look at their name tag, and say the name out loud, saying "I wanted to make sure that I got your name right for the complaint I'll be writing to your company's CEO. "

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