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Thread: Flying With A Gun

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    Flying With A Gun

    Flying to Colorado next month. Anybody know the procedure for sending a firearm with you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by At Ease View Post
    Flying to Colorado next month. Anybody know the procedure for sending a firearm with you?
    Your carrier will have instructions, rules and laws listed on their web site.

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    Regular Member solus's Avatar
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    here ya go...tsa's epistle of flying w/firearms: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-informat...and-ammunition

    a hint tho, make sure your lockable case cannot be 'torqued' open and one with locks on the sides as well as by the handle.

    also remember Denver does not condone OC'g.

    finally, when you leave out of DIA, follow your bag to the TSA check point after checking in at your aeroline as well as follow the foreign national who then takes it from TSA to the baggage belt.

    enjoy your trip to Denver.

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    Regular Member renoglock22's Avatar
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    I would also say to never give the key or combo to any TSA agent. They are not allowed to open it without you present. They are also not allowed to put anything on the outside the case that indicates a firearm.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Print the TSA regulations, as well as the specific instructions from your airline's website (they are sometimes more strict than TSA). Oftentimes the person at the ticket counter will not know the procedure.

    A "TSA-approved" lock is NOT a lock that TSA can open, like what you can use on your standard luggage. It means a lock that only the passenger can open.
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    Nothing to worry about

    Quote Originally Posted by At Ease View Post
    Flying to Colorado next month. Anybody know the procedure for sending a firearm with you?
    Assuming you are flying from a reasonably gun decent area, the procedure is nearly trivial.

    Your airline will have specifics, but in general, you need a hard-sided lockable case for the gun. In theory this can be a hard-suitcase that locks. In practice, a gun case that will fit inside a regular suitcase is a better option for handguns. Long guns you probably need a high quality gun case that will offer a measure of security since it is obvious what the case is for. For handguns, a plastic carry case from Walmart will a couple of luggage locks suffices for the regulations. You may want higher security, but not required.

    Easiest way is to have unloaded gun in case. Empty magazines can be with it. Put your ammo into factory boxes inside the suitcase, but outside the gun case. For most carriers, you can load up your magazines so long as they are not in the gun and the top round is covered. For Delta I've never had a problem if I put loaded magazines, top down, into a nylon magazine holder.

    Go to the counter to check your bags. Tell the counter agent, "I need to declare a firearm in my checked bag." She should hand you the orange tag for you to date and sign. She will sign it and then it goes inside your suitcase. There is sometimes some confusion about whether it should go into the gun case or not. I prefer to put into the case, but not a huge deal if it goes outside the case but inside the luggage.

    Now, depending on the airport, it goes a couple of different ways. The agent will know how. Some airports you lock everything up and she takes your bag and you wait a few minutes to sure TSA doesn't need to inspect. In other airports, you go to a special table and TSA comes out, inspects the bag, then you lock it up and they take it. In yet others, the xray machines are out front and you walk your bag over, tell the agent it has a declared gun, and they have you wait a moment while they run your bag through.

    One way or another, be sure the gun case is locked with non-TSA locks before it leaves your possession. I've never had a problem using non-TSA locks on the luggage itself when I have a checked gun. On rare occasion in some very small airports, TSA will ask for the key so they can inspect back in their area. Tell them you are happy to have them inspect, but you can't give them the key, you have to maintain the only access to the gun. They will either bring your bag out to you, or walk you back to your bag.

    In total, checking a gun has never taken me more than 10 extra minutes above and beyond checking a bag without a gun. That said, I've never tried checking a bag in a gun hostile State, though I know others who do so without problem. I've never had a problem in Denver. I can't imagine Nevada is going to be an issue.


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    Regular Member De5115's Avatar
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    make sure you read the TSA requirements carefully. My first time flying with my gun I had a pistol cable lock on the gun and the gun was inside the glock case it came in. The TSA told me this was a NO GO and the case had to be what was locked. Luckily the TSA was a good guy. He suggested I take the cable lock off the gun and wrap it around the handle tight enough that the case couldn't be pried open. He then suggested I get a locking case before I fly back because I may not be so lucky with the next TSA guy on the return trip. I'm sure it didn't hurt that I am military and was traveling on orders.

    I have flown through a few different airports with guns in checked baggage and some places or more of a hassle than others. Sometimes they dump the entire bag, sometimes they don't. Sometimes it's a big deal, other places it's not. Know the TSA requirements as well as the specific Airline requirements. Good luck

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    I fly with my pistol all the time.

    I just strap it on and go.

    Of course, I'm in my Cessna, but still . . .

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    I attached a pad Eye to the frame of my suitcase, and once my gun is locked in the hard case, I put a chain and lock through the handle of the hard case, and the pad eye. It makes me feel better!~

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    Use a hard side lockable case, at the ticket counter ask for a firearm declaration form, sign it and put it in your case, lock the case and follow the agents instructions if they ask you to take it to an inspection station. Takes me less than 5 extra minutes.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonefishn View Post
    ... Takes me less than 5 extra minutes.
    I have had the process actually save me lots of time. Declaring a firearm is one of the things that can get you out of the self-serve kiosks to be handled personally by a ticket agent.
    "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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    The past few times I've flown, they didn't even have me unlock and open the case to inspect it. They just had me take the case out of my bag so they could slap a sticker on it. Back in the bag and then lock the bag. Done and done. I asked one of the airline reps why they didn't want to inspect it. She said "Well, it's better to leave it in the case and if it's loaded they'll see it on the x-ray anyway. So it's on you if it is loaded." Sounded reasonable to me.

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    I just flew back from Chicago. Took my Glock 42 with me. The Southwest counter agent at McCarran was a PITA. At McCarran only, they always insist on using tape to sticker the declaration card to the outside of the hard case. I asked about it and I just got a snide comment back "I don't know sir, I just do my job. I've been doing this for 14 years." My reply was "I've been flying 2-3 times per year for the past 14 years as well, in and out of various airports and this is the only one where the agents insist on taping the card to the case. I guess your job must be different than the counter agents at every other airport who work for Southwest." She didn't reply.

    At McCarran, they take your bag and put it on the belt. Then they ask you to stand by the American flag near the secure access door and wait for about 15 minutes in case TSA comes out and needs you to unlock the case. This is really the only part that delays the process for me.

    The gun has to be inside a hard-sided locked case. Ammo rules vary and are rarely enforced in my experience. Other than having to keep the gun itself unloaded, you can load mags and put them in a magazine pouch. I actually improvised because I didn't want to unload mags but don't have a mag pouch for the G42's tiny mags, so I stuffed them inside a shoe and stuffed a sock inside the shoe to hold them inside. I've also put the mags inside the case with the gun without an issue. Just an FYI, 200 rounds of .223 55 gr ammo in a cardboard box is exactly 11 lbs. I mention this because most airlines limit ammo carried to 11 lbs.

    Flying back from Midway in Chicago, I went through the bag drop off line instead of full service, since I was in fact only dropping off my bag. The counter agent got agitated with me because apparently declaring a firearm is a "full service" task. I asked why and she said because she had to walk with me over to the TSA counter where they swab the bag. I knew this was BS because I have done this a few dozen times and they always have me bring my own bag to TSA. I ignored the attitude and we continued about our business and TSA swabbed the bag without incident. Then I was on my way.

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    They swab a bag with a gun in it, to find out if it's come in contact with gunpowder.

    Your tax dollars at work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DVC View Post
    They swab a bag with a gun in it, to find out if it's come in contact with gunpowder.

    Your tax dollars at work.
    The gunpowder used in modern cartridges will not pop positive on the swab tests. It doesn't contain what they are trying to detect.

    I fly often with firearms and while procedures differ between airports and airlins, I've never been hassled, never been majorly delayed or inconvenienced. Know the TSA policy and the policies of the airline you are flying on, comply with them (it isn't hard), and you will have no problems.

    Charles' lengthy write up is spot on.

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