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Thread: Air Travel With Firearm

  1. #1
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    Air Travel With Firearm

    Hey everyone,

    I'm getting married in June, and my buddy from Wisconsin is coming down. He wanted to bring his Glock and asked me about bringing it down here. I recall there being a post on here somewhere that a guy did about how he travels through airports with his firearms. Just curious if anyone can post a link to that thread, so I can pass it on to my buddy.

    Thanks.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Most everything you need to know is here: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-informat...and-ammunition

    When they say "TSA-approved locks" they are not referring to locks that can be opened by TSA. They mean locks that cannot be opened by anyone other than the passenger.

    The passenger should print this page and bring it with him. He should also print the relevant page from his airline's website. This is the quickest way to resolve questions and hesitations from sometimes ignorant counter staff at the ticket line.
    "It's not important how many people I've killed. What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive" - Jimmy the Tulip

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    Campaign Veteran G22shooter's Avatar
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    I have been traveling armed for several years and have modeled my procedures on the steps in "Mac's Guide to Flying with a Firearm." It's a long read but it's an excellent resource on how to do it right.
    Quote Originally Posted by P.J. O'Rourke; The Liberty Manifesto
    There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.

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    Regular Member solus's Avatar
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    first congrats on tying the knot...

    I routinely travel across the US w/at least a half of dozen pistols and never experienced any problems.

    my conversations with TSA agents is they have been told to validate the box securing the firearm can not be 'pried' or 'twisted' open even partially so someone can retrieve the contents.

    there was one type of molded plastic firearm box that was popular which has only one lock hasp under the handle which can be pried partially opened and i personally have switched to the molded plastic box which has lock openings under the handle as well as recessed on both sides.

    TSA guidance provided by Mac is excellent start...the other key is to assure the ammo is maintained in a plastic box (or original container) verses being in the in the mag.

    and Mac, et al., TSA agents get cranky and bitter when you throw their documentation in at them as i have discerned each aeroport's TSA and aeroline's counter staff have their own 'unique' way of following the spirit and intent of the TSA's published guidance.

    finally, ensure your friend arrives early at the aeroport and sometimes it takes a bit of time to get through the 'special handling' activities when you check in. and please pass on the term you wish to use is 'you need special handling of your baggage' verses saying 'oh i have a gun in my luggage, can you help me'...

    flying out of RDU the SW ticket agent always hollars out...YOU HAVE A GUN TO CHECK? and one time made me show her it was unloaded at the counter...sigh!!

    make sure your friend does not fly through any NY aeroports...that is a separate thread topic.

    ipse
    Last edited by solus; 01-10-2014 at 04:16 PM.
    I'm only human; I do what I can; I'm just a man; I do what I can; Don't put the blame on me; Don't put your blame on me ~ Rag'n'Bone Man.

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    My recent experience flying

    Posting as a warning to others that travel with their firearms…

    I left DEN on United to fly to LA (the state) to visit my in-laws. Since we were going to be touring NOLA for a few days before joining the fam, I decided, since my CO CHP is recognized in LA, that I would carry (especially after my wife noted that one of the places we were going to visit, at night, was not a place you would want to take the street car home from).

    So, got all packed up, put my travel case, locked, near the top of one of two suitcases we were taking. Declared it to the United agent at check-in, and dutifully followed the TSA escort to the secondary screening, where all firearms-containing luggage is scanned separately. (Not sure why all this happens, as all baggage is scanned anyway…) After the scanners declared me OK to continue, the TSA escort says I can continue to my gate, he'll deliver the bag to where it needs to go.

    Well, upon arrival to NOLA, I end up with only one suitcase; yes, the one with my checked firearms, as well as most of the kids' Christmas presents. Oh, all all *my* clothes, except for one change of underwear. The lady in front of me at the United baggage claim counter has lost all her suitcases, but at least they are able to inform her that they are definitely still in DEN and will be shipped on the next flight. My bag, however, they have no clue where it is. I'm now under the assumption that the "TSA escort" absconded with a bag he knew to have valuables in it. I'm trying to figure out in my head how to deal with Denver PD, from a distance, reporting a grand larceny, as well as (with my wife) trying to come up with a list of all the contents of the bag (we got up to at least $2500, including the guns).

    Anyway, long story short(ened), the bag finally arrived after 2 1/2 days of being missing; everything was intact. I now resolve to not head to my gate while the "TSA escort" delivers my bag, but escort *him/her* back to the counter and watch my bag get put on the conveyor belt.

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    The airline determines how to travel with a gun ...

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    Campaign Veteran G22shooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    The airline determines how to travel with a gun ...
    Uh, no. The airlines cannot make rules or policies contradictory to the policies of the TSA.


    Sent from my SGH-T999L using Tapatalk
    Quote Originally Posted by P.J. O'Rourke; The Liberty Manifesto
    There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by G22shooter View Post
    Uh, no. The airlines cannot make rules or policies contradictory to the policies of the TSA.


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    No but they can add additional restrictions ... chk with the carrier

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    Campaign Veteran G22shooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    No but they can add additional restrictions ... chk with the carrier
    Thanks for echoing what MAC702, solus and I already said.


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    Quote Originally Posted by P.J. O'Rourke; The Liberty Manifesto
    There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.

  10. #10
    Regular Member Motofixxer's Avatar
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    I would recommend a hard sided suitcase such as a Pelican case. Rather than just a case inside another suitcase. I like the idea of all my contents being secure. You can also travel with a cheap flare gun declared and follow all same regulations as its classified a firearm. Then all your contents are always safe and locked up.
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    Campaign Veteran G22shooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motofixxer View Post
    I would recommend a hard sided suitcase such as a Pelican case. Rather than just a case inside another suitcase. I like the idea of all my contents being secure. You can also travel with a cheap flare gun declared and follow all same regulations as its classified a firearm. Then all your contents are always safe and locked up.
    This is not a bad recommendation, but I've never had any trouble when using a cable lock to secure my pistol case inside my checked bag.


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    Quote Originally Posted by P.J. O'Rourke; The Liberty Manifesto
    There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.

  12. #12
    Regular Member carolina guy's Avatar
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    Fun site w/useful information

    Including reports of how the individual airports and airlines handle travel with firearms.

    http://deviating.net/firearms/packing/

    One bit of advise I thought was especially worthy was that he puts "firearms" in each checked bag to ENSURE they make it to the destination and that they cannot be opened legally by the TSA after they are out of his sight.

    One side note, in the videos, the language can get a bit thick, so use caution. ;-)
    Last edited by carolina guy; 01-12-2014 at 11:39 AM.
    If something is wrong for ONE person to do to another, it is still wrong if a BILLION people do it.

  13. #13
    Regular Member solus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meadowsr View Post
    Posting as a warning to others that travel with their firearms…

    I left DEN on United to fly to LA (the state) to visit my in-laws. Since we were going to be touring NOLA for a few days before joining the fam, I decided, since my CO CHP is recognized in LA, that I would carry (especially after my wife noted that one of the places we were going to visit, at night, was not a place you would want to take the street car home from).

    So, got all packed up, put my travel case, locked, near the top of one of two suitcases we were taking. Declared it to the United agent at check-in, and dutifully followed the TSA escort to the secondary screening, where all firearms-containing luggage is scanned separately. (Not sure why all this happens, as all baggage is scanned anyway…) After the scanners declared me OK to continue, the TSA escort says I can continue to my gate, he'll deliver the bag to where it needs to go.

    Well, upon arrival to NOLA, I end up with only one suitcase; yes, the one with my checked firearms, as well as most of the kids' Christmas presents. Oh, all all *my* clothes, except for one change of underwear. The lady in front of me at the United baggage claim counter has lost all her suitcases, but at least they are able to inform her that they are definitely still in DEN and will be shipped on the next flight. My bag, however, they have no clue where it is. I'm now under the assumption that the "TSA escort" absconded with a bag he knew to have valuables in it. I'm trying to figure out in my head how to deal with Denver PD, from a distance, reporting a grand larceny, as well as (with my wife) trying to come up with a list of all the contents of the bag (we got up to at least $2500, including the guns).

    Anyway, long story short(ened), the bag finally arrived after 2 1/2 days of being missing; everything was intact. I now resolve to not head to my gate while the "TSA escort" delivers my bag, but escort *him/her* back to the counter and watch my bag get put on the conveyor belt.

    glad you finally got your bag, but i learned a long time ago flying out of DIA to escort the little foreign national from the ticket counter to the TSA screening point and then to where they take it outside and put it down the external beltway.

    never had a misplaced bag (knock on wood) to date and last year was a thirty round trip year...sigh

    ipse
    I'm only human; I do what I can; I'm just a man; I do what I can; Don't put the blame on me; Don't put your blame on me ~ Rag'n'Bone Man.

    Please do not get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am ~ my attitude depends on who you are and how you act.

    Remember always, do not judge someone because they sin differently than you do!

    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

  14. #14
    Regular Member solus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolina guy View Post
    Including reports of how the individual airports and airlines handle travel with firearms.

    http://deviating.net/firearms/packing/

    One bit of advise I thought was especially worthy was that he puts "firearms" in each checked bag to ENSURE they make it to the destination and that they cannot be opened legally by the TSA after they are out of his sight.
    One side note, in the videos, the language can get a bit thick, so use caution. ;-)
    sorry TSA can open the bag any bloody time they feel like it, please make no mistake you do not need to be present!!

    ipse
    I'm only human; I do what I can; I'm just a man; I do what I can; Don't put the blame on me; Don't put your blame on me ~ Rag'n'Bone Man.

    Please do not get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am ~ my attitude depends on who you are and how you act.

    Remember always, do not judge someone because they sin differently than you do!

    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solus View Post
    sorry TSA can open the bag any bloody time they feel like it, please make no mistake you do not need to be present!!
    They can open a bag that contains a cased firearm, but they cannot open the case that contains the firearm. If the entire bag is the firearm's case, they are not allowed to open it.
    Last edited by MAC702; 01-12-2014 at 08:41 PM.
    "It's not important how many people I've killed. What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive" - Jimmy the Tulip

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    Regular Member solus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    They can open a bag that contains a cased firearm, but they cannot open the case that contains the firearm. If the entire bag is the firearm's case, they are not allowed to open it.
    and that MAC is why i found the locks cut off my firearm box which was housed inside another bag and the firearms box was re-bound with fiber industrial bands upon retrieving my bag from a recent trip from the SEATAC to the RDU via DIA.

    fortunately the contents were in tact as well as the cut locks inside!!

    out of sight out of legal bounds...under the guise of protecting our citizens...

    ipse
    Last edited by solus; 01-12-2014 at 08:57 PM.
    I'm only human; I do what I can; I'm just a man; I do what I can; Don't put the blame on me; Don't put your blame on me ~ Rag'n'Bone Man.

    Please do not get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am ~ my attitude depends on who you are and how you act.

    Remember always, do not judge someone because they sin differently than you do!

    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

  17. #17
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    Carry one suitcase. Make it hard-sided and lockable. Put a firearm in it, whether you want to transport it or not. Put a lock that the TSA can't open on it. Follow all procedures. Be careful of all laws in all States where you will be handling the bag with the firearm in it. It is possible to be in technical violation of the law while taking the bag to check-in or picking it up from the carousel.

    Remember, it was the suitcase WITH the gun that made it through unmolested! There is a reason for that.

    This thread has import beyond this State. It should be moved to General Discussion.


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    Regular Member HPmatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solus View Post
    and that MAC is why i found the locks cut off my firearm box which was housed inside another bag and the firearms box was re-bound with fiber industrial bands upon retrieving my bag from a recent trip from the SEATAC to the RDU via DIA.

    fortunately the contents were in tact as well as the cut locks inside!!
    I use the storage unit hardened steel locks on my pelican case. They would have to use a cutting torch or thermite to cut those shackles.
    “Men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them"
    -Thomas Hobbes 1651

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    Thank you all very much for the congrats! There is a ton of great information that you all posted, and I'll be sure to pass them along to him. What I was initially looking for was Mac's Guide, however, there is a plethora of information in the others. I do thank you for all the information! I hope you all are having a great day!

  20. #20
    Regular Member carolina guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Carry one suitcase. Make it hard-sided and lockable. Put a firearm in it, whether you want to transport it or not. Put a lock that the TSA can't open on it. Follow all procedures. Be careful of all laws in all States where you will be handling the bag with the firearm in it. It is possible to be in technical violation of the law while taking the bag to check-in or picking it up from the carousel.

    Remember, it was the suitcase WITH the gun that made it through unmolested! There is a reason for that.

    This thread has import beyond this State. It should be moved to General Discussion.


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    True, although 18 USC 926A gives some significant protection for a firearm that is stored unloaded in a locked container:

    Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.
    If something is wrong for ONE person to do to another, it is still wrong if a BILLION people do it.

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    That law is specifically directed at interstate transportation of a firearm in your vehicle. However, even if you apply it to travel from your home to the airport, in some States, there is a practical legal problem in moving the firearm between your vehicle and the check-in and between the carousel and your vehicle!

    IIRC, a fella in New Jersey fell victim to this legal trap.


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    Easier than it may seem

    I work in aviation and have flown A LOT! Please read the TSA page that was posted. I will say it is easier than checking a bag. They'll check it and have you sign verifying it is unloaded. It must be locked and make sure you use a good case. I use a Pelican for my AR. I bought a AR when in Tulsa for work and took it home and the Delta lady saw it and yelled "Hey Dave, check out this awesome rifle" it was hysterical and no reports. They'll usually walk you to TSA with it to make sure it goes through the scanner fine and send you on your way. I've travelled several times with them and it doesn't take any extra time than normal check in. Don't sweat it

  23. #23
    Regular Member carolina guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solus View Post
    sorry TSA can open the bag any bloody time they feel like it, please make no mistake you do not need to be present!!

    ipse
    Cite?

    I think that 49 CFR 1540.111 - CARRIAGE OF WEAPONS, EXPLOSIVES, AND INCENDIARIES BY INDIVIDUALS. controls this situation by specifying a lock that ONLY the passenger has possession of the key or combination during transit.

    The TSA would seem to agree (in their typical round-about manner) with http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-informat...and-ammunition where they do not say they lock will be cut if the bag is properly declared.
    Last edited by carolina guy; 01-15-2014 at 12:56 PM.
    If something is wrong for ONE person to do to another, it is still wrong if a BILLION people do it.

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    Yep, everything I have read (the law and the TSA site) indicates that they get ONE crack at the bag, hence the NON-TSA lock.


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    Quote Originally Posted by solus View Post
    and that MAC is why i found the locks cut off my firearm box which was housed inside another bag and the firearms box was re-bound with fiber industrial bands upon retrieving my bag from a recent trip from the SEATAC to the RDU via DIA.

    fortunately the contents were in tact as well as the cut locks inside!!

    out of sight out of legal bounds...under the guise of protecting our citizens...

    ipse
    solus - the only circumstance I can imagine for why TSA would have cut the locks off of the gun case inside the checked bag is because they were unable to find the signed declaration tag that attested to an unloaded firearm.

    For example, I have had several ignorant airline ticket counter agents instruct me to lock the declaration tag inside my gun case. I have learned that there is no point in arguing or trying to educate them, so I do what they say. Then when I get to the TSA screener with my bag, prior to my bag being sent off to be loaded on the plane, I explain to the TSA screener that the ticketing agent directed me to put the declaration tag inside the locked gun case where it is no longer visible to TSA agents. Invariably, the TSA screener directs me to take the declaration tag out of the locked gun case and place in on top of the exterior of the gun case, inside my checked bag.

    Take it for what it's worth... YMMV...
    Quote Originally Posted by P.J. O'Rourke; The Liberty Manifesto
    There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.

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