This is the second part of the series Have Gun Will Travel by Gabby ArmedCandy.
- What are my Airport’s rules? Also, what are the rules at your destination airport?
If your airport has a check point before you enter the check-in area, be prepared to declare your weapon there as well as at the check-in desk. The Atlanta airport does not. However, I fly into New York’s LaGuardia Airport multiple times per year. In New York State, long guns are relatively easy to own but pistols require a significant amount of paperwork and fees.
- Pop Quiz: Can the NYPD arrest you immediately upon arrival, for having a firearm in your luggage?
Before you google it, keep reading. *The answer can be found below. The point is, know the laws in every state (and, sometimes, in every county) you and your firearm visit.
- Will I need to get to or open the box between packing at my house and unpacking at my destination?
According to my carrier’s website I must check in at the desk and declare to the representative that I am checking a firearm. (Bummer, I usually check in online and have my boarding-pass sent to my phone. I haven’t seen a check-in desk in years!) I will have to present my unloaded weapon to personnel and sign a “Firearm Unloaded” declaration.
- Should the lock on my gun box be keyed or combination?
It doesn’t seem to matter. Theoretically, the box will only be opened in my presence. The TSA will not mark the outside of the bag as containing a firearm, but they will scan the bag before it heads to the plane. They will see the gun, open my bag & see the paper I signed at check-in, declaring the “Firearm Unloaded”.
- Can I bolt the box down into the structure of my suite case?
I am planning to do so, since I am a little concerned that all this airport weapon flashing might get my baby some unwanted attention. There is an article linked to the image on the right that likes this technique. Doing so will keep any itchy-fingered TSA agent from claiming the small inner box as his own. However, luggage gets lost all the time, I speak from experience, so I should really be more concerned with the whole package.All of these rules are in place to protect the plane, passengers, flight crew and ground crew. But I’ve just flashed an expensive, dangerous item to an airport full of strangers; What systems are in place to protect me and my property? Unfortunately, the TSA has limited concern for my property, so it’s up to me to be as careful and prepared as possible.
- Can I lock my luggage? We all know the TSA no longer allows typical locking of suitcases, but this is a special situation, right?
Actually, flying with a gun is even more of a reason not to try and keep the TSA out of my checked bag. As I said before, they will be scanning my bag, along with everyone else’s bags, before sending them down to get put on the plane. When they scan the bag they will see the gun and definitely open my bag. If I were to lock the bag, they would either, tear it open, or not allow the bag on the plane. Since I don’t want either scenario to transpire, I will use a TSA approved lock on the outside of my luggage. I will also make sure that opening the bag, doesn’t create an avalanche or lacy under garments and feminine products.
- How early should I get to the airport?
A friend told me she allowed for an EXTRA hour, on-top of the recommended airport arrival time, but since she was traveling with a large number of weapons, I believe an extra half hour-45 minutes, should do the trick. The TSA’s site says that once I hand off my bag I am to proceed through security to my gate and they will contact me if needed. I understand this to mean: Bring a good book and band-aids for the fingernails I will likely chew off until my flight departs.
- Can I fly with Ammo?
The airline’s website has worded this a little funny. It says, “Ammunition in excess of 11 lbs. per passenger or that contains potential projectiles is not allowed.” –Airline Site. Now, I realize that some people don’t know the difference between “ammunition” and “bullets” but it sound to me like a box of practice rounds is a no-go. I mean, unless you carry casings and gun-powder, separate from any “projectiles”, I’m not sure what kind of “ammunition” would be acceptable based on this wording. So, I went to see what the TSA says about ammo. They agree that a small amount of ammunition, .75 caliber or less, “for personal use”, is allowed but one should check with the airline. After I call the airline, I will be checking for local ammo shops between the airport and my destination.
- Homework: Flying home will require me to check-in at an unfamiliar airport, what rules do they have there?
- *Answer: Sorry, that was a trick question. NYC has completely different gun laws than NY State. No matter what firearm is in your luggage, if you are not credentialed to carry a weapon in NYC, you are S.O.L. when your plane lands.
Next up: Carrying, Driving, Staying