Email exchange with TSA

This is a discussion on Email exchange with TSA within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; First of all let me say that I have a great deal of respect for the folks that work at the airports. IMHO they have ...

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Thread: Email exchange with TSA

  1. #1
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    Email exchange with TSA

    First of all let me say that I have a great deal of respect for the folks that work at the airports. IMHO they have a thankless job, and as a flying passenger I don't want to cause any hassle's for them or me.

    I'll be flying out of town soon and will be declaring that my checked baggage contains a handgun. I've done this before and haven't had any problems. This time, I am considered bringing two handguns, and for simplicity locking both of them inside the same case. Yesterday I sent an email to the "contact us" link for TSA. Listed below is my email to them.

    Subject: handguns in locked case

    I understand the procedure of carrying a firearm in a locked case in checked baggage etc.

    My question is this: Can I have two handguns inside one locked case?



    Their answer requires no elaboration, just a yes or no. Below is their lengthy reply that doesn't seem to answer my question. I presume they get many emails a day and someone is just pasting their pat answer in hopes that the subject will be covered adequately. Below is the response I got:

    Thank you for your email message concerning the checked baggage screening process and how it affects passengers carrying firearms in checked baggage.

    On flights that originate in the U.S. passengers can transport a firearm in accordance with 49 CFR 1540.111 under the following conditions:

    the firearm must be unloaded;

    it must be in checked, not carry-on, baggage;

    it must be in a locked hard-sided container; and

    it must be declared to the airline.
    If these conditions are met, the airline will place a declaration tag inside the checked baggage containing the firearm. This notice alerts Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) to the presence of the firearm if they have to open the bag to inspect it.

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is required by law to electronically screen all checked baggage that goes aboard a commercial passenger flight. If electronic screening cannot verify that a bag and its contents are safe to bring onboard the flight, TSOs will inspect the bag by hand. TSA, therefore, encourages (but does not require) passengers to keep their checked bags unlocked to facilitate the process and reduce the need to break locks.

    TSA recommends that you place the locked hard-sided container with the firearm inside a suitcase or other bag before you check it with your airline. This will allow you to leave your suitcase unlocked but also to comply with the requirement that the firearm be in a locked container.

    You can use a hard-sided locked suitcase as the sole container for your firearm. However, this can lead to one of the two following complications if your bag needs to be inspected by hand:

    If the TSOs can determine from the screening equipment that the bag contains a firearm, they will not open it. They will instead attempt to locate you and obtain the key or combination so that they can inspect the bag. If they cannot locate you, the bag will not be allowed onboard the aircraft.

    If the TSOs do not see that the bag contains a firearm before they open it, they may force open the lock and proceed to inspect the bag. Once the lock is forced open, the bag cannot be allowed on an aircraft until it is relocked. TSA will attempt to locate you and make suitable arrangements.

    These potential inconveniences can be avoided by following TSA's recommendation that you pack your firearm by itself in a separate, hard-sided, locked container and pack the container inside your suitcase. If TSOs need to open your bag to inspect it, they will be able to do so with out breaking a lock on the bag.

    Once the TSOs open the bag, they will see the declaration in your suitcase and will not open the locked container encasing the firearm. They will proceed to search the bag, close it, and (presuming the bag is free of prohibited items) will be able to allow it onboard your flight.

    We encourage you to visit our website at TSA | Transportation Security Administration | U.S. Department of Homeland Security for additional information about TSA. We continue to add new information and encourage you to check the website frequently for updated information.

    TSA Contact Center




    I'll carry a copy of their response with me if I decide to carry two guns in one case. Does anyone here actually know the answer to my question, or have experience in successfully carrying two handguns in one locked case? Thanks
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    A friend of mine recently traveled with four handguns in one case. He had no issues, although the lady at the counter thought he was required to have a CCW in order to ship firearms.

    Don't take my word for TSA's requirements, but my friend had no problems.

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    Member Array larefugee's Avatar
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    Their answer _does_ require elaboration because they don't want you crying foul and claiming ignorance at the screening gate.

    The copy & paste statement they gave you has all the info you need.

    * the firearm must be unloaded;
    * it must be in checked, not carry-on, baggage;
    * it must be in a locked hard-sided container; and
    * it must be declared to the airline

    If you gun meets these conditions then you're fine. There's nothing to think about here.

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    I have traveled several times with MULTIPLE firearms. Some occasions have been a mix of long guns & handguns & others have been strictly handguns. The largest number was 5 (1-AR15 & 2 Glocks a 1911 & a S&W642.)
    Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.-Seneca

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    Quote Originally Posted by larefugee View Post
    Their answer _does_ require elaboration because they don't want you crying foul and claiming ignorance at the screening gate.

    The copy & paste statement they gave you has all the info you need.

    * the firearm must be unloaded;
    * it must be in checked, not carry-on, baggage;
    * it must be in a locked hard-sided container; and
    * it must be declared to the airline

    If you gun meets these conditions then you're fine. There's nothing to think about here.

    Of course they can elaborate all they want, it would have been nice though if they would have actually answered my question
    In reading their response literally, one could note their singular use of firearm as it is above.

    I checked my airlines requirements for guns and according to them I can carry up to five, it doesn't say cased separately or collectively.

    If Grady's friend made it okay, I'm sure I will too. Thanks anyway.
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ppkheat View Post
    If Grady's friend made it okay, I'm sure I will too. Thanks anyway.
    I just called him to verify. He used one case for four handguns, and had all his ammunition in the same case. He flew from St. Louis to Cleveland and back, and flew both on Southwest and American.

    I'm not saying one incident = TSA rules, but hopefully that is the correct interpretation.

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    Member Array Obiwan's Avatar
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    Just print out a copy of the LAW and carry it with you. Highlight the good stuff so that you can find it quickly if hassled.
    When seconds count, help is minutes away!

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    Having the laws and the airline regs printed for easy reference is a plus...don't count on the TSA rep knowing anything.
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Having the laws and the airline regs printed for easy reference is a plus...don't count on the TSA rep knowing anything.
    Yeah, I have lots of stuff already printed out and will bring it with me. It will surely serve one of two purposes:

    1. I can attempt to use my copies to help de-escalate any overly-exciteable airport personnel.

    2. I can use my copies as a towel to dry myself after my jailhouse shower. ..............
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grady View Post
    I just called him to verify. He used one case for four handguns, and had all his ammunition in the same case. He flew from St. Louis to Cleveland and back, and flew both on Southwest and American.

    I'm not saying one incident = TSA rules, but hopefully that is the correct interpretation.
    Thanks Grady for checking with your friend, like I posted earlier I don't want any hassle's for me or them.

    BTW do you know any cake recipes that would have a hacksaw baked inside it.
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ppkheat View Post
    BTW do you know any cake recipes that would have a hacksaw baked inside it.
    Still trying to perfect it... can't overcome the x-ray issue yet.

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    Member Array Gunner69's Avatar
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    Hmm lets see most I have ever flown with.... 3 long guns... AR, Shotty, Precision rifle, BUG, Carry, and a revolver that I was gifting to my brother... All in one case the look on the ticketing agents face was priceless...
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    Member Array b52ace's Avatar
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    Although not asked about, be sure to know/comply with the airline's rules as well. Had a situation come up with AirTran last year - their rules stated ammo needed to be in a different bag. I only traveled with one bag and packed it in a separate locked container (same bag as locked Glock 23) and it worked fine until the return leg of second trip to VA. The agent stuck to the letter of the rule and would not allow both in the same bag. No matter what I (or the TSA guy) said would get her to allow it. Fortunately my fiance went into the terminal with me and she took it home.
    "Evil prospers when good men and women do nothing" - British citizen

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    Senior Member Array tankdriver's Avatar
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    I've flown for years. Never carried less than 2. Usually at least 3. Never had any problems. Always checked through.
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    to answer your question, yes, I've taken 2 handguns in the same lockable case on southwest twice, no problems, 2 years ago when I last flew
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