Results 1 to 23 of 23

Thread: Air travel with your sidearm

  1. #1
    Regular Member Stryker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    83

    Post imported post

    I am curious if anyone has experience with air travel and checking your sidearm as luggage. I travel very frequently, and am comfortable with the process of declaring a firearm for TSA when checking my luggage. My routine is to pack one of my weapons at home with some ammunition all locked up and ready to go.

    Now that I have moved over to the OC side, I am thinking more and more about expanding my carry options.I would propose that there is no safe or appropriate place in an airport to unload and secure your weapon prior to turning it over to TSA. We read that carrying firearms in airports outside of the security screened sterile zone is acceptable, but I am at a loss as to how one could properly transition a holstered weapon to their luggage.

    Perhaps the next reasonable option would be to unload the firearm at my vehicle and secure it prior to boarding the shuttle bus from the parking lot to the airport. The only problem here is that there is often a shuttle driver and other customers nearby. Any thoughts on the legal ramifications of publicly unholstering a sidearm for the purposes of unloading and securing?

    I'm fairly happy with my current arrangement, but I have noticed something funny. The more I carry, the less comfortable I feel when I'm not carrying. Is that paranoia or situational awareness?
    "Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem" Ronald Reagan 20 January 1981

    "Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington

  2. #2
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Long gone
    Posts
    2,575

    Post imported post

    I have noticed something funny. The more I carry, the less comfortable I feel when I'm not carrying. Is that paranoia or situational awareness?

    Niether paranoia or situational awareness, just normal.

    Throw me to the wolves and I will come back leading the pack.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Stryker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    83

    Post imported post

    .Orphan wrote:
    I have noticed something funny. The more I carry, the less comfortable I feel when I'm not carrying. Is that paranoia or situational awareness?

    Niether paranoia or situational awareness, just normal.
    I was thinkingthe situation is that we live in a world full of bad people and that I am aware that I am unarmed. I know this is an erroneous use of the term "situational awareness", but it makes me smile. Anyways, we all know that SeaTac is a great town and that bad things never happen there.

    It's getting late out here in Tulsa. I still have trouble understanding why OK and TX aren't open carry states. At least they honor my CPL. Can't wait to get home!
    "Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem" Ronald Reagan 20 January 1981

    "Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington

  4. #4
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    , Washington, USA
    Posts
    113

    Post imported post

    I really wish the law passers and those frothing at the mouth about gun control could really realize how serious and responsible gun owners are.

    No Gun Free Zone or gun control act ever stopped a CRIMINAL from committing a CRIME. I can't think of a kid that went to shoot up his school and said, "Oh gee, this is a gun free zone... I guess I can't go shoot up my classmates."

    Those signs and laws are just "feel good" ordinances that calm the minds of irrational sheeple that are afraid of the gun, rather than the gunner. It's hard to blame them; they're simple-minded and fed everything to believe from their TV soap operas and big budget films. That **** makes guns look scary to ignorant folks.

    The fact is that criminals will always break the law. So if law abiding citizens need to be safe... anywhere; be it a federal building, airplane or even a bar (not drinking)... we should have that right. As long as we're responsible, mentally sound and educated about safety.

    Period.

  5. #5
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    , ,
    Posts
    591

    Post imported post

    its allready packed when I arrive

  6. #6
    Regular Member killchain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Richland, Washington, USA
    Posts
    788

    Post imported post

    Bring it in already packed and unloaded. If it's a rifle, break it down so no one freaks out. Then when you check the bag discreetly bring it up to the clerk that you want to "check a firearm in your check baggage."

    Assuming they follow laws and do it right, a TSA agent will check it, you'll fill out a bit of paperwork, and they'll put the paperwork in your firearm case.

    THE FIREARM CASE MUST LOCK.

    And contrary to popular belief YOU CAN PLACE THE FIREARM CASE IN ANOTHER CHECK BAG. And the paperwork goes INSIDE THE FIREARM CASE. Also, you are not legally obligated to put any sort of notification on the bag that says there's a firearm inside. Reason for this is because once the TSA checks it, and sends your bag off, it's "secure."

    ALSO, CHECK THE FIREARM LAWS OF WHERE YOU'RE FLYING TO. Example: You can fly INTO New York with a pistol any day of the week from Washington, but the other way... if you don't have a New York State Pistol Permit, it's a Class B felony and you WILL be arrested if you even SHOW your pistol. I had to drive my Pontiac and my Beretta back from New York specifically because of this. Stupid.

    Don't get suckered in like I did and check a rifle case with your AR-15 in it and pray none of the baggage kids decides to steal it. Did that in New York State, that was fun. Got the rifle dumped on the floor, all my stuff checked for "explosives," then interrogated for fifteen minutes by three TSA agents about my "machine gun."


    (EDIT: Forgot the part about New York pistol laws. They're important. Check the state laws where you're going. I'm serious.)
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." -John Stuart Mill

  7. #7
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Eagle River, Alaska, USA
    Posts
    584

    Post imported post

    I have to say It's a weird feeling when my pistol is packed and locked away before I leave for a flight, because I know that if something were to happen in those few hours before leaving for the airport It would be difficult defending myself.

  8. #8
    Regular Member killchain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Richland, Washington, USA
    Posts
    788

    Post imported post

    Just take heart knowing there are a bunch of bored, armed TSA agents that will shoot anyone that pulls some ****. Just play sheeple for 45 minutes and duck.
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." -John Stuart Mill

  9. #9
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Kitsap Co., Washington, USA
    Posts
    332

    Post imported post

    Definitely familiarize yourself with the laws in your destination city/state.

    As far as prepping your weapon for travel, it's reasonable to assume that you get some kind of grief if someone witnesses you handling a firearm anywhere near an airport. No guarantees, but you'd be a fool to think there couldn't possibly be any trouble.

    As for TSA procedure... I've flown six times with a firearm (1x Virginia, 2x NC) and no two experiences have been exactly the same. One time the agent verified that the case was locked and then put the bag through the xray. That was it! Another time the agent took the bag behind a screen about 30 feet away where I couldn't see what he was doing. Neither of these instances are in accordance with the very clearly established procedures laid down by the TSA. (These procedures can be found on the TSA website)

    The good news is that I've never been interrogated or hassled for transporting a pistol in my checked bag, and I have never had any trouble picking it up off the carousel.

    To clarify a point made earlier in this thread, airlines and the TSA are prohibited from marking or tagging a checked bag as having a firearm inside. For obvious reasons, they don't want anyone (ground crew, baggage handlers, etc.) to know that a bag contains a firearm. The only exception is when your "bag" is obviously a gun case (like with rifles). When you travel with a rifle, you'll need to claim your bag from the airlines when you arrive at your destination rather than grabbing it off the carousel.

  10. #10
    Regular Member Stryker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    83

    Post imported post

    Thank you everyone for the responses. Your experiences are pretty much in line with mine. Although I must admit that some of my best TSA encounters have been with the guys checking firearms (pistols only). This is especially true if you know what you are doing as far as having the weapon properly packed, secured, unloaded and the airline provided "Unloaded Weapon" declaration placed. When checking a sidearm, they have often been interested to know what I do for a living or why I travel with a gun (In a casual/friendly way). Have not yet had a lecture or incompetent agent.

    Now, as far as TSA being armed and me feeling secure, let me say that I have never seen an armed TSA agent. In fact, I would feel uncomfortable if TSA gave their people guns. Usually the only guy armed around TSA is the overweight city, county orport authoritycop pulling airport duty who sits behind the TSA checkpoint struggling to stay awake. (Just kidding about the staying awake part!)

    I will also concur about knowing the destination laws. Not just CPL reciprocity/recognition, but also carry limitations and license presentation requirements if one is stopped by law enforcement. Some states require you to volunteer your license without being asked.
    "Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem" Ronald Reagan 20 January 1981

    "Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington

  11. #11
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Spokane, ,
    Posts
    32

    Post imported post

    This was all good intel. I have flown many times with firearms official and non-official. I'll just add that the case needs to be hardside I wouldNOT recommend TSA locks on it. Put your own and stand at the X-Ray machine and watch them inspect it if they choose to. If they are high value weapons, consider putting metal seals with serial numbers on them to make sure they were not tampered with.

    Regarding ammo, you are allowed to bring a reasonable amount (usually one or two packs) on most airlines. It can go in the same case as your weapon but it needs to be in the same packaging you purchased it in or you can buy a plastic ammo case and put it in there. They willNOT allow ammo to fly while loaded in magazines. They want the primer completely protected from being struck inadvertently.

    Lastly, make sure you put a luggage tag INSIDE the guncase in case (and all your checked baggage for that matter) the outside one gets ripped off and they have to cut the locks to find out who owns the bag.

    p.s. check the airline website before you fly and PRINT OUT the web page rules in case you have toadvise their employees what their own policy is. I have had to do this once.

  12. #12
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    , ,
    Posts
    41

    Post imported post

    I have flown about 6 timesthis year with guns. The only issues i had were oneTSA rep said they would have to x-ray it and to leave if unlock. The machine was in an TSA only area where i couldn't see it. I had a talk with his boss and how that was a violation of there SOP. Another time the airline bag smashers broke my gun case when it was raining. When i picked it up from the carousel the inside of the case was flooded with water one gun was fine, the other one needs to be refinished.

  13. #13
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    SW Idaho
    Posts
    1,552

    Post imported post

    I simply kneel down when I get up to the counter, open my bag and lockbox, discreetly and safely drop the mag, unload, and pack. Never had a problem.

    Just to clarify, most airlines will allow you to carry ammo in a mag; the mag just cannot be inserted into the firearm.
    Total ignorance: an Obama supporter's stock in trade
    Quote Originally Posted by Beretta92FSLady View Post
    All the talk about Overthrowing Big Government, Revolution, etc., it's just another one of those nostalgic ideas that individuals have idealized.
    O RLY?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...and_rebellions
    Quote Originally Posted by Beretta92FSLady View Post
    Books are overrated; and so is history.

  14. #14
    Regular Member Prophet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    544

    Post imported post

    I've had 3 different experiences while checking a bag.

    One I call the "standard", one I call the "extreme" and one I call the "bizarre".

    The standard, flying out of Pittsburgh is that I inform them I have a firearm i want to check, open the box, show em its unloaded, they give me the orange ticket and direct me to take the firearm, case, and bag im checking it it to the TSA agent. I take it to TSA, show em the tag, lock up my case and then my bag and they take it away to go on the plane. Very quick, less than 5 minutes.

    The extreme, flying out of San Francisco, i go up to the flight counter, tell the woman i have a firearm to check, begin to unlock my case and show her its unloaded, she freaks out and in a condescending voice says "i dont want to see it" and directs me to the TSA agent in the subterranean part of the airport. I am escorted with a guard to the depths. The TSA agent was nice but pretty much unloaded my entire bag and wiped it down with some chemical to trace for explosives. It was actually kind of funny because I had been hiking in Yosemite so i had a combat knife, utility knife, hatchet, camo, small ruck sack etc. as well as my pistol but she didn't bat an eyelash at the contents. The only sticking point was that the woman at the counter didn't fill out the orange thing because she refused to look at my pistol and if the TSA agent was being a bitch she could have forced me to go back up, get someone from the airline to sign off on it and then i would have to come back and go through this all again. Fortunately she just signed off on it herself and i repacked my bag. This took nearly 45 minutes. Fortunately I arrived early.

    The bizarre, i just recently came back from Las Vegas flying on delta. I get to the counter, show my pistol is unloaded and put it back into my checked bag. The woman TAKES my bag and puts it into the conveyor belt. I stop her and inquire if i had to take it to a TSA agent. She says in most airports yes but not here for some reason. I'm stunned, not sure what to do but decided that someone would get me off the plane if there was a problem. When I arrived back in Pittsburgh my bag was there, locked up and my pistol right where it should be. Tre bizarre.

  15. #15
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Spokane, ,
    Posts
    32

    Post imported post

    I flew through Portland ORE with a Barrett M107 (which is broken down to a lower and upper receiver when in the case). The TSA agent asked me if it was some kind of rocket launcher.

    On the way home via Nashville, the TSA agents there knew what it was and told me they wish they could play with it more.

    I love the South.



  16. #16
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Kitsap Co., Washington, USA
    Posts
    332

    Post imported post

    What is allowed/overlooked and what is outlined by TSA policy are often two different things.

    Ammo must be completely contained in a plastic or fiberboard (i.e., cardboard) designed for carrying ammunition. A loaded magazine is allowed only if the magazine is secured in a carrier/mag pouch.

    Most airlines have a limit of 11 pounds of ammo in a checked bag.

    While I don't recall reading anything that specifically prohibits opening your gun case at the ticket counter, I have not read anything from airlines or the TSA to suggest that this is an acceptable procedure.

    Prophet: I got the same "wipe down" when I was boarding in Seattle (only one time, though), however it wasn't as invasive as what you described and everyone involved was courteous and professional. I guess that's a hit-or-miss kinda thing.

  17. #17
    Regular Member Stryker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    83

    Post imported post

    The airlines determine the amount of ammunition and firearms that can be transported. TSA specifies the manner in which they must be packed and transported.

    The reason for dramatic variances in inspection techniques is due to the capabilities of TSA inspection equipment. For instance, SeaTac has two TSA inspection stations. The first is by Alaska Airlines. They have what is basically a simple CT scanner that quickly allows them to view the bag's contents. No need to open and visually inspect the bag. The other is down past Delta where they have to inspect the bag by hand.

    When I returned from Tulsa yesterday, the Delta ticketing agent had me place my Unloaded Weapon declaration in the bag and she simply placed it on the regular baggage belt. Tulsa runs 100% of their bags through the CT scanners.

    My original question was about carrying into the airport and transitioning a sidearm to the gun case. Any additional thoughts on this?
    "Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem" Ronald Reagan 20 January 1981

    "Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington

  18. #18
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Kitsap Co., Washington, USA
    Posts
    332

    Post imported post

    Seriously... carry into the airport, and use a bathroom stall to transfer the weapon into its case. It's not the most dignified method, but it works.

  19. #19
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Moscow, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    79

    Post imported post

    Buy your own airplane and do as you dam well please. :celebrate

  20. #20
    Regular Member John Hardin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Snohomish, Washington, USA
    Posts
    684

    Post imported post

    bigwookiee wrote:
    Buy your own airplane and do as you dam well please. :celebrate
    +1

    (don't I wish...)

    http://www.antillesseaplanes.com/gallery/large/16.jpg

  21. #21
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Chandler, AZ/Federal Way, WA, ,
    Posts
    536

    Post imported post

    I travel between Phoenix and Seattle a lot. Everytime I go I get a different answer. I've been told I HAD to have a TSA lock (They're like $14 for one and I carry two firearms when I travel). I had to argue with the manager for about 20 minutes to explain this was not in their policy. I've been told the declare paper only has to be in the bag with the luggage, not in the actual case. I've been told I had to check my pistol case separately (another fee too!).

    I always OC into the airport and unload/clear at the counter and lock it up there. If it makes people uncomfortable, I'm sorry. You don't have a right to be comfortable.

  22. #22
    Regular Member Stryker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    83

    Post imported post

    bigwookiee wrote:
    Buy your own airplane and do as you dam well please. :celebrate
    +1

    I used to fly regionally, and started taking lessons, but my career has changed. Nowmy itineraries are on 737s but my budget has not grown beyond a Cessna 172. Now if anyone wants to part with a Cessna Mustang for $200k, PM me.


    "Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem" Ronald Reagan 20 January 1981

    "Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington

  23. #23
    Regular Member Stryker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    83

    Post imported post

    deanf posted in another thread that the Port of Seattle has banned firearms from all areas of the airport.http://www.portseattle.org/downloads...ereg9-1-09.pdf While clearly in violation of state preemption, it directly answers my original question.

    So, barring a desire to miss a flight in favor of an argument with Port Police and subsequently becoming a test case, I would advise that all firearms be packed to TSA specifications prior to enteringSeatac airport.

    Thanks to deanf for his willingness to stand before the Port Commission and request the revision of this rule. Perhaps I can get in on the next round or someday SAF vs Nickles' gun ban will come to fruition.
    "Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem" Ronald Reagan 20 January 1981

    "Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •