Have Gun Will Travel – Flying

Have Gun Will Travel - Flying
Have Gun Will Travel - Flying
Have Gun Will Travel - Flying
Have Gun Will Travel – Flying

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

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Next articleHave Gun Will Travel – Carrying, Driving and Staying
Gabby ArmedCandy is humbly honored to be the first female writer at USA Carry. Compared to the site's other writers, Gabby's interest in firearms began...um, yesterday, but once introduced, she fellinstantly in love with the gun world. With her new passion ignited, she began a female-focused blog and community called ArmedCandy. Gabby hopes to inspire others to learn and explore as she shares her growth and experiences. You can also find Armed Candy on Twitter and Facebook
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Deviant Ollam

The very end of the article is incorrect. You are not breaking a single law if you fly into or out of NYC with a firearm. As long as the gun is unloaded, locked, and not in the same exact container as ammunition you’re legally fine.

Just as you can drive THROUGH the state of New York (NYC included) you can also fly into and out of her airports, as long as they are part of your direct journey and you’re not stopping in the city for other purposes.


In defense of Gabby . . . “Deviant” you are flat out 100% WRONG! I grew up in N.Y.C., spent 28 years in law enforcement and I can flat out tell you it is illegal to have a handgun anywhere in the City of New York unless you are licensed BY the city to have it. It is an absolute falsehood that you can use the excuse that you’re just driving through. You can have the weapon encased in solid steel . . . it’s illegal to possess within the city limits without a permit from that city.

I suggest those attempting to do so to first contact the Mayor’s Office &/or the Police Chiefs Office and you’ll be told the same thing in no uncertain terms. I know the exact transportation laws some of you may be getting ready to quote. Don’t bother. In N.Y.C. you can forget them! The Mayor has instructed the police to ignore them and arrest anyone in possession of a handgun without an issued city permit. Period. Is this illegal in my opinion? You’re damn skippy. But this is a Billionaire liberal Mayor who is out of control and is getting away with his policy OVER any constitutional or federal laws that say otherwise.

Gabby did her homework very well on this issue. You would be wise to listen to her on this folks. Excellent work Gabby!


Suggestion, When I fly with a firearm, it is SEPARATE, in it’s OWN container. NOT in another bag. If you put the guncase IN a piece of luggage, it STILL should be locked on it’s own accord, and the OUTER luggage SHOULD be tagged as having a firearm inside it. As for “flashing an airport full of strangers while opening my gun case, it’s USUALLY done in a separate area screened from everyones view….. sort of. That’s IF they decide to open it in the first place. Some do, some don’t, I’ve had both ways. MY gun case is locked with a lock that ONLY I PERSONALLY have a key for. The TSA DOES NOT WANT their folks to have access. It flows without ANY problem AT ALL. Now for Ammunition in the case…. nothing has ever been said about the box of 50 rounds I put in the same case as the firearm.
Having said all that, I have not flown on only one carrier either, but my carrier of CHOICE is Southwest. NO CHECKED BAG FEES for the first two!!!!!


Your choice on how you want to pack your firearm but I pack my Glock in it’s locked case that is attached to the pull handle channels inside my suitcase (unzip the liner partially) with the cable that comes with the case. I also lock the suitcase zipper with a TSA approved lock AFTER the declaration & demonstration phase is complete to slow down a thieving baggage handler.

You are wrong about the luggage being marked as having a firearm, unless you are doing it yourself.

I travel by airline frequently with my Glock. The TSA does not typically open my bag unless I put my computer in there as well (!). I do usually hang by the check-in counter for 5-10 minutes and let the gate agent know I’ll be doing so in case the TSA wants to see inside the gun case. About half the gate agents want a demonstration that the firearm is unloaded and the other half trust me when I signed the card declaring it is so. If they want to see it I do it right there inside the suitcase.


I fly 2-3 times a month for business and take my handgun with me on 95% of all trips. As someone mentioned below, every airline has their own way of checking the firearm in and every airport ticket counter is different as well. Some want to see that the gun is unloaded, some don’t even want to see it at all. Some want you to put the orange tag in the case with the gun; others just have you put it in the luggage carrying the case. Some make you stand and wait for TSA to say all clear, while others say “Thank-you and have a nice flight!”

At my home airport of Des Moines, IA, I get different routines depending on what airline I’m flying. Some make me wait. Some don’t.

In Atlanta, they made me take it over to TSA and wait and watch as they tested the luggage and items inside for bomb residue or whatever they are swabbing for.

In Spokane, WA they had me wait at an adjacent for a TSA Agent to comeout to the ticket counter and acquire my luggage with the gun/case personally from me.

The point is that you might think you have the routine down until you switch airports or even airlines. I do try to give myself and