flying with your firearm
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flying with your firearm

This is a discussion on flying with your firearm within the Traveling With Handguns forums, part of the Handguns category; Has anyone had any first hand experience flying with their weapons? I have a trip coming up and I am ...

  1. #1
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    Default flying with your firearm

    Has anyone had any first hand experience flying with their weapons? I have a trip coming up and I am a bit nervous checking my weapons.. I would hate for something to happen to them or they get lost or something. Can someone calm me down just a bit ;)

  2. #2
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    I only have second-hand information. So far most of the responses have been positive. The only negative is that in some airports you were not allowed to accompany your bag to TSA inspection. Try to encourage them to let you.

    Two items of advice. First, check the TSA site for the latest info, print a copy and take it with you. Second, check you're airlines site as they may have more restrictive rules than TSA. For example one airline (I can't remember which one) required ammo in a separate bag.

    Another hint. I recommend a COM safe http://www.center-of-mass.com/. It takes up minimum room, meets TSA requirements and the cable can be looped around internal parts of your bag to minimize casual theft.

    For the most part is painless and successful.
    Howard
    I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop!
    EDC Primary: M&P45fs, Crimson Trace LaserGrips, Insight XTI Procyon light in SmartCarry holster
    >>> http://MP-Pistol.com/
    EDC BUF: LCP, Crimson Trace LaserGuard in DeSantis Super Fly holster
    >>> http://LCPforum.com/

  3. #3
    GHF
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    Default Traveling With A Gun Via Air

    Having traveled a number of times, here's how I go at it:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Secure and protect magazines and ammunition boxes from possible damage.
    4. 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
    5. Other stuff - like shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste, etc, could be in this checked bag also.
    6. Check this non-descript bag at the airport. Have the rules for the airline in hand.
    7. 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 - http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=1f020769f93df9bc371bd1612b0fd309&rg n=div8&view=text&node=49:9.1.3.5.9.2.10.6&idno=49) 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.
    8. 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:

    1. Check www.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.
    2. Have a copy of the Don Young Transportation Letter on hand - http://www.anjrpc.org/DefendingYourRights/us%20letter.pdf. This covers changing modes of travel - car to plane to car - in a single journey.
    Orlando, FL

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    Dewhitewolf is offline Armed Snowboarder
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    I flew from New Jersey to Nevada and back with a declared pistol (didn't fly with ammo). I didn't face any problems. The airline simply had my sign a form stating that the firearm was unloaded. Then they escorted me to the TSA station, where the agents put the bag (gun was in locked case inside) and ran it through the scanner. They gave me the thumbs up, and I went to my gate and boarded my flight. Pick up at the arrival airport was just as smoothe.

    As long as you take precautions like stated above, and follow the regulations to a "T," you shouldn't have any problems. One note of caution--if the counter clerk doesn't know what to do, show him/her the printed out regulations of the airline, AND ask for a supervisor.

    Also, don't let them label your luggage as containing firearms. It is 100% illegal to do so as per FAA.

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    Living on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you can imagine that I do A LOT of air travel. I've traveled on several airlines, landing at several airports. I have a couple of different cases that I use for transporting my firearms. One is an aluminum case for my rifles and handguns if I'm taking handguns on the same trip, the other is a Pelican 1450 case. Both are approved for travel with firearms. Before heading to the airport, be sure to have both the airlines and TSA current regulations regarding transportation of firearms. You'll be surprised at how many airline representatives don't know the proper procedure for checking in firearms. Although FAA regulations allow it, I ALWAYS transport my firearms SEPERATE from the ammunition. I'll have the ammo in it's original packaging or if using reloads, in a reload container in my checked bag. Remember that airlines can impose stricter rules than what FAA and TSA allows. Bottom line is that the airline has the final say in how your firearms and ammo can be transported. Ammunition is limited by weight. Depending on the airline, I've experienced anywhere between 5 and 10 lbs.

    When checking in, present your identification, boarding/flight info and state to the airline representative "I have UNLOADED firearms and ammunition to declare." The airline representative will have you fill out a firearms declaration form. It's usually a bright colored card approximately the size of your average luggage tag. This will go INSIDE the container holding the firearms. Be sure to have lock(s) for your gun case. They can be keyed or combination provided that only the passenger transporting the firearms has the combination and/or key. (TSA locks are not supposed to be used, but I've seen a couple of instances where they were allowed by airline representatives and TSA personnel.) In most cases you will be escorted to a seperate area where TSA will inspect the firearms to see that they are NOT LOADED. When coming in contact with the TSA personnel, it's a good idea to again state "I have UNLOADED firearms and ammunition to declare." Once TSA is done with your firearms, they will ensure that the case is locked and advise you that you're free to go to the gate.

    If anyone has any questions, feel free to PM me. I've got names and ID numbers of various TSA personnel at various airports who have given me problems. Best thing to do is not argue with them, request a supervisor and bust out a pen a paper to get their identifying info. In a couple of cases, the TSA agent attempted to obscure their ID tag, so in that case I wrote down a description of the agent and was able to snap a photo with either my digital camera or cell phone.



    gf
    "A few well placed shots with a .22LR is a lot better than a bunch of solid misses with a .44 mag!" Glock Armorer, NRA Chief RSO, Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Muzzleloading Rifle, Muzzleloading Shotgun, and Home Firearm Safety Training Counselor

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    Skindad88, I fly on a regular basis and always take a fire arm. Let me start off by asking which airline you will be flying with, where you are flying from and your destination? Flying with a firearm is really easy. We have all heard the horror stories but I have only had trouble a couple of times, and they were with people at the counter who did not know the proses or were anti-hunters. If the person at the desk is uncomfortable or you feel that they are not shore of what they are doing,smile and ask for a supervisor. I never give them the keys to my gun case. I always request that TSA inspect the case in my presence, when they are done I lock the case and put the keys in my pocket. After you get that first flight under your belt you will realize that it is not that big of a deal. If you have any specific questions feel free to PM .

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    I also have a trip coming up and have never flown with my firearm--my question is where is my luggage with my locked case inside when I arrive at my destination? Does it come off the conveyor with everyone else's or do I pick it up somewhere else?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mom of 3 angels View Post
    I also have a trip coming up and have never flown with my firearm--my question is where is my luggage with my locked case inside when I arrive at my destination? Does it come off the conveyor with everyone else's or do I pick it up somewhere else?
    There is no indication on your bag that it contains a firearm. This is by design in the regs. The form that you sign when you declare generally goes into your locked case.

    Go safe. Come safe.
    Howard
    I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop!
    EDC Primary: M&P45fs, Crimson Trace LaserGrips, Insight XTI Procyon light in SmartCarry holster
    >>> http://MP-Pistol.com/
    EDC BUF: LCP, Crimson Trace LaserGuard in DeSantis Super Fly holster
    >>> http://LCPforum.com/

  9. #9
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    Dewhitewolf is offline Armed Snowboarder
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    Quote Originally Posted by mom of 3 angels View Post
    I also have a trip coming up and have never flown with my firearm--my question is where is my luggage with my locked case inside when I arrive at my destination? Does it come off the conveyor with everyone else's or do I pick it up somewhere else?
    Unless your luggage is unusually sized or shaped, it will come out through the conveyor for your flight number, just like any other luggage. There is no indication on the outside of the luggage that there any firearms, so no one will treat it differently. As mentioned earlier, not tags are allowed on the outside that state that firearms are inside.

    On the other hand, if you're traveling with long guns and the case is too long for the conveyor, then it will be sent to a different, but nearby area. This would be the same area you would go to pick up skis or any other unusual luggage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewhitewolf View Post
    Unless your luggage is unusually sized or shaped, it will come out through the conveyor for your flight number, just like any other luggage. There is no indication on the outside of the luggage that there any firearms, so no one will treat it differently. As mentioned earlier, not tags are allowed on the outside that state that firearms are inside.

    On the other hand, if you're traveling with long guns and the case is too long for the conveyor, then it will be sent to a different, but nearby area. This would be the same area you would go to pick up skis or any other unusual luggage.
    I've traveled many times with my firearms. I experienced only one instance where my firearms were secured by baggage personnel. All of the other times, the firearms came off the conveyor belt with the other luggage. This is why I make it a point to make it to the baggage claim area A.S.A.P. I've run in to one occasion where another passenger claimed to "accidently" put my rifle case on his baggage cart. After a brief chat with airport police, the man was observed and subseqently questioned by authorities when he proceeded to leave the terminal with all of his baggage, none of whiche remotely resembled my aluminum rifle case.

    Be careful when traveling by air with firearms. Never know what kind of folks you'll run into. Another word of caution is that some airlines don't allow you to put your firearms case into another bag, hence my Pelican 1450 case for pistols and aluminum long gun case.



    gf
    "A few well placed shots with a .22LR is a lot better than a bunch of solid misses with a .44 mag!" Glock Armorer, NRA Chief RSO, Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Muzzleloading Rifle, Muzzleloading Shotgun, and Home Firearm Safety Training Counselor

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