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Thread: Flying with my gun

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    Regular Member fire suppressor's Avatar
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    Flying with my gun

    Hi everyone I am hoping for some helpful hints from anyone who has ever done this before. At the end of the month I will be flying to South Dakota. I have my Utah CPL which is honored South Dakota and I'm considering taking my revolver. I have never flown with a gun before and do not want to end up in some special room with no cameras or on a no fly list. I have looked up the procedures on the TSA site but I am still looking for any tips anyone feels relevant. Will this be easy transaction or am I in for a hassle?
    "Fight like you train, train like you fight"

  2. #2
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    You've made a good start. The second place to look is at the airline's website to see what their particular requirements and procedures are.

    In general, I would not expect any problems flying out of SeaTac.

  3. #3
    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Last time I flew with a gun it went like:

    "I'm declaring a firearm" to the clerk at check-in.

    "Is it unloaded and in your checked baggage?"

    "Yes".

    "Fill this tag out and place it next to the firearm inside your bag".

    Picked it up on the other end with no hassle.

    Follow TSA website and Airline's website instructions. It should be a non-event. I would consider installing a trigger lock just because. Also, it might not be a bad idea to have current picture of the firearm with serial number recorded to keep on your person. In the event it's stolen while in the possession of the airline it might make it easier with the claims process. I've never had one stolen but there have been incidents.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

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    Regular Member massivedesign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    Last time I flew with a gun it went like:

    "I'm declaring a firearm" to the clerk at check-in.

    "Is it unloaded and in your checked baggage?"

    "Yes".

    "Fill this tag out and place it next to the firearm inside your bag".

    Picked it up on the other end with no hassle.

    Follow TSA website and Airline's website instructions. It should be a non-event. I would consider installing a trigger lock just because. Also, it might not be a bad idea to have current picture of the firearm with serial number recorded to keep on your person. In the event it's stolen while in the possession of the airline it might make it easier with the claims process. I've never had one stolen but there have been incidents.

    This... Flown many times and it has added about 5 minutes to my check-in procedure. TSA (at least the ones I have dealt with) were all pretty well versed with the routine.
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    What Levin and Massive said plus relax if you go to check in and you are looking stressed or nervous you may get singled out for a lot more screening. Remember thousands of people fly with firearms everyday it really is no big deal.

    I have flown with firearms many many times without a hitch other than one time at Burbank Ca about 1978. When I was checking in I declared the 2 shotguns, I had been at a Skeet shoot, the airline check in guy called the Cops on me the moment I opened the rifle case. The Cops came and laughed at the check in guy, he was scared of the firearms. The Airline supervisor got there right after the Cops, I was apologized to and upgraded to 1st class for my flight back home to Houston.

  6. #6
    Regular Member badkarma's Avatar
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    Make sure to follow the Airline rules(how to pack ammo, case construction, if your flight is in a crop duster you can't check in a gun). Also, if you have some creative flight plan(start on United, change to Continetal in California, fly to New Jersey with a 4 hour lay over then fly to SC) just make sure you're gun/magazines are in compliance with state laws.

    99.9999999% of the time it should not be an issue. Just follow the rules listed on the Airlines web site and print out a copy in case they have a brain fart.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire suppressor View Post
    \ I have never flown with a gun before and do not want to end up in some special room with no cameras....
    Oh, you will be lol

    Really airlines handle guns all the time (and they do lose some too...so consider this--just another piece of luggage to them).

  8. #8
    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    I wrote this up and posted it on several forums: http://forum.nwcdl.org/index.php?act...downfile&id=83

    It has the TSA rules as well as the rules from most of the airlines here in the US.


    I fly with a 1911, my weapon is unloaded and I put one magazine (loaded) into a leather mag holder with the firearm. I have a separate case for all my other mags and ammo. Not once has this created any issue for me flying.

  9. #9
    Regular Member Difdi's Avatar
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    One thing that I've heard of people doing, is using a biometric lock gun safe as the hard-sided locked case they put in their checked bag. No keys for someone to run off with and lose, and they need your hand present at the lock to open it, so they have to call you (rather than pick or cut a lock improperly) if they want to inspect the gun.

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    Campaign Veteran gogodawgs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Difdi View Post
    One thing that I've heard of people doing, is using a biometric lock gun safe as the hard-sided locked case they put in their checked bag. No keys for someone to run off with and lose, and they need your hand present at the lock to open it, so they have to call you (rather than pick or cut a lock improperly) if they want to inspect the gun.
    While that is fine, it is also expensive.

    You do not hand the keys over to anyone. TSA does not even look at the firearm.
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  11. #11
    Regular Member decklin's Avatar
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    I always fly with a firearm. As stated before when you get to the counter just say, "I need to declare a firearm." Don't say, "I have a gun."
    The airline rules are pretty simple. Suitcase must lock. If a softside suitcase then the gun case must be hard. I use TSA locks on the suitcase and non-TSA locks on the gun case. As the firearm has already been declared at check-in TSA is not authorized to cut the non-TSA locks.

    The only time I thought I might have a problem was when I flew out of Logan. Turns out it was the easiest check in I have ever done. I was at the counter for less than 5 minutes.
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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    The difficult part comes AFTER you've checked the firearm. The long lines just to get groped, peeked, & treated like a convict, crammed into a metal tube like a sardine, breathing someone else's germ-laded recycled air while the obnoxious kid behind you kicks your seat the whole time. If you're lucky they MIGHT throw some hardtack & swill at you. And of course the whole time you've been reduced to a helpless victim with your firearm receiving better treatment than you do. Then the joy of getting the bill and remembering you just PAID for that theft of dignity.

    Make it easier on your self. Just drive. And you can carry the whole way there!


    It is very wise to not take a watermelon lightly.

  13. #13
    Regular Member decklin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalhead47 View Post
    The difficult part comes AFTER you've checked the firearm. The long lines just to get groped, peeked, & treated like a convict, crammed into a metal tube like a sardine, breathing someone else's germ-laded recycled air while the obnoxious kid behind you kicks your seat the whole time. If you're lucky they MIGHT throw some hardtack & swill at you. And of course the whole time you've been reduced to a helpless victim with your firearm receiving better treatment than you do. Then the joy of getting the bill and remembering you just PAID for that theft of dignity.

    Make it easier on your self. Just drive. And you can carry the whole way there!


    LOL. Hardtack. That's great.
    "Loyalty above all else except honor. " -John Mahoney

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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by decklin View Post
    LOL. Hardtack. That's great.
    Not once you've been beaned with it by a bitter overworked stewardess with one hell of a pitching arm. It's called HARD for a reason.
    It is very wise to not take a watermelon lightly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by decklin View Post
    LOL. Hardtack. That's great.
    Must have been flying 1st class.

  16. #16
    Regular Member Prophet's Avatar
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    To echo what most have said the process is pretty easy. It Pittsburgh you tell the counter that you are declaring a firearm. You check any luggage without a gun in it with them. You fill out a card that goes inside the gun case and then you take then you are directed to the far end of the counters. Past all the other airline ticket counters to where there is a lonely TSA agent whose sole job (to the best of my knowledge) is to give your bag the once over, acknowledge you have that little paperwork, the proper gun case (hard sided and locked) and then they take your bag from you and you continue to the terminal.

    Never had a problem with Pittsburgh or most other airports.

    There was this time in San Francisco when I told the airline teller I was checking a firearm and she gave me such a disdain of disapproval she basically spat out at me that she didn't want to see it (you're supposed to show them its unloaded and how many bullets you have - depends on the airline) and she tosses me the form and calls security telling them there is a guy with a gun.

    Yeah, she was a bitch. But the security guy was solemn and didn't say anything. The TSA agent who went through my bag was very pleasent though. But where in Pittsburgh its a once over, in San Fran she basically unloaded my bag, wiped everything down for explosive residue and then I packed it all back. She told me that the Airline teller was supposed to have verified my firearm and signed off on it but she didn't see the need to send me back so she did it herself.

    The whole thing was kind of amusing as she is pulling out my firearm, hatchet, knives, and general survival like gear (did some camping) she didn't comment on any of it and we just chatted away.

    So, though most people are giving you the, its not a big deal speech, just be ready in the future if you are ever in a "less than friendly" gun state.

    That's before I go on about New York City and Albany New York who have a standing order to arrest anyone who tries to check a firearm while traveling even if its perfectly legal to do so without a NYS Weapons Permit.

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    Regular Member Difdi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gogodawgs View Post
    While that is fine, it is also expensive.

    You do not hand the keys over to anyone. TSA does not even look at the firearm.
    TSA does not always comply with its own rules, policies and procedures. I've read stories on the net from people who were ordered to surrender the key or not fly, and were not present in the room when the gun case was opened. I know and you know that you don't surrender the key, but TSA personnel are often poorly trained. Not having a key at all removes the problem.

  18. #18
    Activist Member bwboley's Avatar
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    I flew southwest to Kansas city mo 3 times 2 times with 1 hand gun last time 2 in 1 case took about 1 min extra in the line and that was it. Mags were in the same box ammo was in the in the factory box.
    Also i doubt it matters i loom for non stop so it dont have to change planes also if i have a lay over i try making it in a state that dont allow 15 round mags since that's what i have for my glock

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    Regular Member fire suppressor's Avatar
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    Re: Flying with my gun

    I appreciate everyone's response I know 1000's of people do it everyday but it is a first for me. I am hoping for a fun trip with a lot of exploring I will be thankful to have it with me
    "Fight like you train, train like you fight"

  20. #20
    Regular Member fire suppressor's Avatar
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    Re: Flying with my gun

    Quote Originally Posted by Difdi View Post
    TSA does not always comply with its own rules, policies and procedures. I've read stories on the net from people who were ordered to surrender the key or not fly, and were not present in the room when the gun case was opened. I know and you know that you don't surrender the key, but TSA personnel are often poorly trained. Not having a key at all removes the problem.


    Today I bought a cheap gun vault safe designed to go under your car seat. It has a 3 digit turn style lock. One less key to try and keep track of
    "Fight like you train, train like you fight"

  21. #21
    Regular Member fire suppressor's Avatar
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    Re: Flying with my gun

    Thanks to the people who told me to check with my specific airlines guidelines. I am flying unites and they do differ slightly from TSA. TSA allows me to use any container designed to carry ammo United SOPs state I must use the original manufacturers box, a wooden box or metal box only. I guess that perfect little box I just bought specially designed to carry 357s wont work. Oh well it was only $3

    Per United - "No more than 11 pounds of ammunition may be carried. The ammunition may be packed in the same container as the firearm or in a separate container. Ammunition must be packed in the manufacturer's original package or securely packed in fiber, wood or metal containers. The ammunition inside the container must be protected against shock and secured against movement"
    "Fight like you train, train like you fight"

  22. #22
    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Difdi View Post
    I've read stories on the net from people who were ordered to surrender the key or not fly, and were not present in the room when the gun case was opened.
    And because they're on the "net" they have to be true, right?
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire suppressor View Post
    I appreciate everyone's response I know 1000's of people do it everyday but it is a first for me. I am hoping for a fun trip with a lot of exploring I will be thankful to have it with me
    I know you have likely done this but I will say it anyway, do a thorough job of researching the laws of where ever you are flying to.

    Have a safe trip, enjoy.

  24. #24
    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    And because they're on the "net" they have to be true, right?
    No, because they are about the TSA doing something stupid & illegal they must be both true and greatly understated.
    It is very wise to not take a watermelon lightly.

  25. #25
    Regular Member Difdi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    And because they're on the "net" they have to be true, right?
    Well, I'm reading your post on the net. Is it true?

    Quote Originally Posted by fire suppressor View Post
    Thanks to the people who told me to check with my specific airlines guidelines. I am flying unites and they do differ slightly from TSA. TSA allows me to use any container designed to carry ammo United SOPs state I must use the original manufacturers box, a wooden box or metal box only. I guess that perfect little box I just bought specially designed to carry 357s wont work. Oh well it was only $3

    Per United - "No more than 11 pounds of ammunition may be carried. The ammunition may be packed in the same container as the firearm or in a separate container. Ammunition must be packed in the manufacturer's original package or securely packed in fiber, wood or metal containers. The ammunition inside the container must be protected against shock and secured against movement"
    I believe the fiber packaging they are referring to is called cardboard by most people. It's the type of box a lot of ammunition is sold in. By phrasing that way they allow for the possibility of the same sort of packaging as a manufacturer uses, but not the original packaging.

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