Airline travel with a firearm
@Mods, I put this post here as it deals with the TSA. Please feel free to move it if there is a more appropriate place.
Last Friday, my wife and I flew from NC to OH which has CC reciprocity and we packed a couple of guns in our checked baggage. We went to the 'special handling' desk at the Charlotte ticket counter and asked for a declaration tag and I said that we had a couple of unloaded firearms to declare. The girl was very professional about it. She gave me the tag to fill out, took a quick look at the case I had opened for inspection, had us lock it up and then we put it inside of the normal checked bag. She said that if there was any question or problem that we would be paged and placed our bag on the conveyer.
On the return trip, the process was almost identical, except that the agent put a CAGPT tag on the outside of the bag. My immediate thought was that they are not allowed to mark the outside of the case as to the fact that it contains a weapon. However, I didn't know what CAGPT means, which I subsequently learned (see this thread from 2007) means Check And Give Protection Too, which seems to be something they put on bags that have valuables declared.
In both instances, when we picked up our checked bag, we could tell that someone had been through it.
Anticipating the desire to travel with firearms at some point, I had asked for (and am receiving) a larger Pelican case for the upcoming holiday. This time, my travel was unexpected and so I simply put the guns in a smaller lock box inside of the normal luggage. With the larger Pelican case, I would put two non TSA locks on the case. From a lot of the reading I have done, it seems like the common procedure, at least with larger locked cases, is to have the TSA clear the bag and have you lock it right then rather than send it back for general scanning. This covers the regulation that only you have access to the weapons. My concern is that with a larger locked case, they would simply cut the locks to gain entry, which would be a violation.
The post I referenced above was from 2007. Has anyone dealt with this recently and how do/did you handle it?