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Thread: Traveling from Virginia to Florida via BWI Airport

  1. #1
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    I will be traveling from Virginia to Florida soon and will be flying out of BWI Airport. I'll be taking a pistol with me, so I want to make sure I understand and obey all the necessary laws. I would have preferred to fly out of Virginia, but that will not be possible for this trip.

    I found the Maryland law for the transportation of a handgun here:

    http://mlis.state.md.us/asp/statutes...Extension=HTML

    It does not make an exception for transporting a handgun within a vehicle when traveling to the airport to fly out. So, according to my reading of the law, it is not legal under Maryland law to transport a handgun to the airport to fly out of the state.

    However, it appears that the Federal Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) does protect me legally for my trip given that my direct route is through Maryland and BWI airport:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18...6---A000-.html

    I found a FAQ from the Maryland State Police that makes reference to the FOPA (page 5):

    http://www.mdsp.org/downloads/Licensing_Faq.pdf

    So Maryland State Police seem to be aware of the provision and the protection it provides. The PDF states that the ammo must be separate from the firearm during transportation, but I could not find a reference to this in the Maryland code link above. The FOPA does not specify that the ammo must be in a separate container. I plan to fly with the ammo in the same hard-sided locked container as the unloaded handgun, per TSA regulations:

    http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...rial_1666.shtm

    Does someone have a reference to a Maryland law that requires the ammo to be transported in a separate container from the handgun? If this is Maryland law, do I need to follow it assuming that the FOPA protects me in transporting the ammo and the handgun in the same container?

    I plan to fly with Southwest and found their regulations here:

    http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/guns.html

    Southwest seems to be in line with the TSA rules, so I don't see any issues here.

    I plan to have the ammo and the unloaded handgun locked in a Pelican case using two Abloy Protec PL 321 Padlocks.

    Have any of you traveled from Virginia to BWI to fly out with a handgun or other firearm? Any issues with checking and declaring a firearm at BWI?

    Thanks for any feedback you can provide.

  2. #2
    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    I would also post this on the MD thread to see if any MD residents had flown out of BWI.

    I flew from Norfolk to Denver and back using a Pelican case and the same abloy locks without incident.

    The two concerns you need to have are 1) if you get stopped anywhere in MD and the officer decides to confiscate your gun and throw you in the pokey until you can prove it isn't stolen and your destination was a legal place to bring it. 2) checking it in at the airport without the swat team surrounding you. :-)

    I would think (in my opinion) that the #2 would be the safer part since TSA is under federal rules. Read up on some of the threads about "not" talking to the police and what not to say.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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    Don't forget that tsa will need to open your cases inspecton ( at Dulles it's right beside the bagagge checkin counter so you can hand them the key to your locks). No sure about bwi but tsa will want to open the case to verify firearm is unloaded.

    Also as Lon as the ammo is in a specifically designed case (I.e MTm plastic case) it can go In your checked bag if that simplifies things

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    conhntr wrote:
    Don't forget that tsa will need to open your cases inspecton ( at Dulles it's right beside the bagagge checkin counter so you can hand them the key to your locks). No sure about bwi but tsa will want to open the case to verify firearm is unloaded.

    Also as Lon as the ammo is in a specifically designed case (I.e MTm plastic case) it can go In your checked bag if that simplifies things
    at Dulles, tsa NEVER touches my keys or my firearm.. that last think I would want is one of those nitwits handling my firearm. You lock the case (with non tsa locks) and keep the keys per regulation.
    Carry On.

    Ed

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    conhntr wrote:
    Don't forget that tsa will need to open your cases inspecton ( at Dulles it's right beside the bagagge checkin counter so you can hand them the key to your locks). No sure about bwi but tsa will want to open the case to verify firearm is unloaded.

    Also as Lon as the ammo is in a specifically designed case (I.e MTm plastic case) it can go In your checked bag if that simplifies things
    The ammo "case" can just be the factory box.
    Carry On.

    Ed

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    Or a better plan is to use a Va based airport!! Trailer Air flies direct to Fl out of Dulles too. Just seems safer and completely worth any extra expense considering the potential rectal enlarging experience if MD plays games with you.

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    Thanks to each of you for your replies. I will keep all this info in mind as I make my journey. Next time I will be flying out of VA!

  8. #8
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    send yer gun in advance to yourself via UPS
    Carry On.

    Ed

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    Founder's Club Member Tess's Avatar
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    ed wrote:
    The ammo "case" can just be the factory box.
    That's up to your airline, so check their regulations in addition to the TSA site. Some will allow the factory box; some won't.
    Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population. -Albert Einstein

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    Regular Member buster81's Avatar
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    ed wrote:
    send yer gun in advance to yourself via UPS
    Where would he send it to?

  11. #11
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    A friend, his hotel, HOLD AT UPS, wherever..
    Carry On.

    Ed

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    If you get creative, I don't see why you need to fly from BWI. Florida has tonnes of huge airports including MIA, FLL, PBI, TPA, and MCO. United has directs to every one of them, and if you are willing to make a connection through Charlotte, NC, you can probably get a sub $500 ticket through US air. Doing some creative searching and including nearby airports, you'd be surprised what you can find out of Dulles.

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    You might find http://deviating.net/firearms/packing/ useful. He has comparisons of different carriers and airports behavior when confronted with checked firearms.

    He also has some interesting tips on locks to choose and how to deal with the various players you might encounter during inspections.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the additional info. The video was good and informative. I think I've got all the info I need for a successful trip. Thanks again.

  15. #15
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    Maryland law doesn't apply as long as the gun is properly packed for transport on the plane. If it's in a locked container, unloaded, and in a spot you can't get to easily, you're good to go under the Firearm Owners Protection Act (an amendment to the Gun Control Act).

    One wrinkle: the FOPA refers to "such transporting vehicle" and appears to ignore the possibility that one might move the package containing the gun from one vehicle to another. Some local jurisdictions take the position that you're only legal when the package is within a vehicle, and Maryland's one of the bad ones. So if I were you, I'd have the locked package inside a larger locked package such as your suitcase or trunk.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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    Regular Member Hendu024's Avatar
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    ed wrote:
    send yer gun in advance to yourself via UPS
    I thought that was illegal?

  17. #17
    Regular Member Hendu024's Avatar
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    conhntr wrote:
    Don't forget that tsa will need to open your cases inspecton ( at Dulles it's right beside the bagagge checkin counter so you can hand them the key to your locks). No sure about bwi but tsa will want to open the case to verify firearm is unloaded.

    Also as Lon as the ammo is in a specifically designed case (I.e MTm plastic case) it can go In your checked bag if that simplifies things
    I've had them ask me each time I've traveled with a firearm to open the case and show them that it was unloaded. One lady wanted to do it herself and i told her no, I would do it or she could get a uniformed officer to do it. She didn't put up too much of a stink about it and let me verify.

    My brother had a TSA lady grab his pistol out of his case when he was showing it to her.. She pulled the pistol out, dropped the mag, and racked the slide back, all while pointing it directly at his forehead. Let's just say that the incident didn't end too well for her. Ever since then, I refuse to let any of the TSA monkeys touch any of my firearms.

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    Hendu024 wrote:
    ed wrote:
    send yer gun in advance to yourself via UPS
    I thought that was illegal?
    Negative - perfectly legal.
    Any common carrier will do. And if it's a long gun, you can mail it.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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    Hendu024 wrote:
    [quote...My brother had a TSA lady grab his pistol out of his case when he was showing it to her.. She pulled the pistol out, dropped the mag, and racked the slide back, all while pointing it directly at his forehead. ...[/quote]

    I think that if that happened to me, I'd yell, "GUN!!!" and drop to the floor, just to see what happens.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

  20. #20
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    I just returned from my trip without any issues encountered. However, there were a few things that I found interesting because of some small differences between the flight down and the flight back. Flew out of BWI Thursday on a direct Southwest flight to Jacksonville and returned yesterday to BWI on a direct flight using Southwest. I was transporting one pistol and one box (25 rounds) of ammo. I had the pistol and ammo both locked in a hard sided double pistol case. I then had the pistol case inside of a larger soft sided bag. I had the larger bag locked with a TSA approved lock.

    When checking in for the flight down at BWI, I said to the female Southwest employee, "I need to declare a firearm". The lady checking in next to my wife and me did a quick double take :shock:, which of course amused me. The Southwest lady seemed slightly annoyed at the declaration. I'm thinking this was only because it created extra work for her. She had me fill out the declaration card and then asked me to open the locked gun case so that I could stick the declaration card inside the case with the gun. She never asked if it was unloaded and never asked about the ammo. I opened the case just wide enough to slide the card in and then closed it and locked it back up. I then put it back in the larger bag and locked that again with the TSA approved lock. She then attached a small paper tag to the larger bag that had white and red strips on it, but did not have anything written on it. I asked her if I needed to wait around in case TSA needed to inspect the case and she said to wait for 15 minutes and if they needed me, they would call me over the loud speaker. We waited about 25 minutes, didn't hear anything, and then proceeded to the gate. Didn't hear anything at the gate either, so we boarded the plane. I assumed my bag was loaded on the plane as well.

    Once we got to Jacksonville, we headed to the baggage claim area. I expected that I would have to pick my bag up from one of the baggage claim people, but instead it came right out on the belt like all the other bags. Once we got to the rental car, I checked the pistol and found that everything was in order.

    We had a great time in Jacksonville, relaxing at the beach and in the pool for a few days, attended a wedding, and then headed back on Sunday. It was nice to carry concealed while we dined at restaurants that served alcohol. It got me primed for back home in VA when we'll be able to do the same starting July 1. :celebrate

    Once at the Jacksonville airport for the trip back, I again declared the firearm to a Southwest female employee. She seemed almost excited at my statement, which was a good sign to me. She had me fill out the declaration card. Then she asked me if the pistol was unloaded (which they did not ask at BWI). I said yes. She asked if I had any ammo (which they did not ask at BWI). I said yes. She asked out much. I said 1 box. She seemed satisfied with that answer. I then started to open the locked hard sided case and she said that since I told her the pistol was unloaded there was no need to open the case and then she just taped the declaration card to the outside of the pistol case (which again is different from what they did at BWI). I then put the case back into the larger bag and locked it with the TSA approved lock. Unlike at BWI, she did not attach any kind of tag to the larger bag.

    I asked her about waiting to hear from TSA and she said I could wait at the gate and if they needed me they would call for me there. They never did and we boarded the plane and flew back. Once we reached BWI, we again waited by the carousel and just like in Jacksonville, my bag came out like every other bag.

    All-in-all, the process couldn't have been easier. Not sure if I got lucky or if this is the norm. I'm guessing more of the latter.

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