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Thread: Securing Airline Luggage by Always Carrying a Firearm

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    Question Securing Airline Luggage by Always Carrying a Firearm

    Here is something I thought this group might be interested in.

    http://deviating.net/firearms/

    The basic idea is that no one can open your airline luggage when you have declared that it contains a firearm. The person who posted this is someone involved in the Information Security field. I think he is a credible source. Look it over and post your thoughts if you are interested.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    If you want to feel safer, it's a way to go. However, it is no guarantee that your luggage will not be tampered with, stolen, or lost.

    It just makes it harder on you to deal with those consequences.

    stay safe.

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    Regular Member rotty's Avatar
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    Good link, some good tips.

    I have been traveling with a pistol for just alittle over 6 years. It does give you the ability to lock your luggage but does make things take longer at certain airports.
    - Knowledge is power and there IS strength in numbers -

    "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
    - Thomas Jefferson

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    I was under the impression that the firearm was supposed to be in a locked container inside your luggage. Is your entire piece of luggage being the locked container another option or the only option?

    Also, what if you are traveling to a state that does not allow you to carry a firearm, say Illinois?

    One thought I had: Does Illinois have a law against traveling with a bullet? I don't know. If they don't, would putting a single bullet (instead of a firearm) in your locked container, along with your other valuables, trigger (pun intended) the rules for transporting firearms?

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    Regular Member HeroHog's Avatar
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    If you are doing this just "for insurance", I suggest ya get a Jennings/Hi-Point etc. disposable so that when it does disappear you aren't out much!
    Speedy: LOCAL League Sec/Treasurer, Information Officer
    AKA: Hero Hog, Dr. Speed, "The Brass Mangler" and "That fat, old, balding, Grey-bearded gimpy guy"

    I don't have NEAR enough ammo on hand. `nuff said.

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    Regular Member Tomas's Avatar
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    Those cheap pot metal starter's pistols fly under the same rules, and are the least expensive luggage protection assuming you won't be flying with at least your back-up weapon...
    No tyranny is so irksome as petty tyranny: The officious demands of policemen, government clerks, and electromechanical gadgets. -- Edward Abbey

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    Regular Member Son_of_Perdition's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    I was under the impression that the firearm was supposed to be in a locked container inside your luggage. Is your entire piece of luggage being the locked container another option or the only option?

    Also, what if you are traveling to a state that does not allow you to carry a firearm, say Illinois?

    One thought I had: Does Illinois have a law against traveling with a bullet? I don't know. If they don't, would putting a single bullet (instead of a firearm) in your locked container, along with your other valuables, trigger (pun intended) the rules for transporting firearms?

    A bullet can complicate the time it takes you to check your bags. The key words here are "UNLOADED FIREARMS" In the eyes of the TSA a bullet is an explosive devise and explosive devises take down airplanes. We all know that your .22LR is not going to make it past your socks let alone get out of your luggage if it went off. But it will make your day a long one when you go to check that bag. If your shooting for cheep, I would use a boat flare gun to skirt under the law. Just be sure to leave the flares at home and shoot them off at new-year (Cheep fireworks).
    Also the answer is YES. Your entire piece of luggage can be and is the locked container.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Son_of_Perdition View Post
    A bullet can complicate the time it takes you to check your bags. The key words here are "UNLOADED FIREARMS" In the eyes of the TSA a bullet is an explosive devise and explosive devises take down airplanes. We all know that your .22LR is not going to make it past your socks let alone get out of your luggage if it went off. But it will make your day a long one when you go to check that bag. If your shooting for cheep, I would use a boat flare gun to skirt under the law. Just be sure to leave the flares at home and shoot them off at new-year (Cheep fireworks).
    Also the answer is YES. Your entire piece of luggage can be and is the locked container.
    Cite please?

    My memory says locked (non-TSA lock) container inside a hard-cased container (suitcase/whatever) that also is locked, but merely with a TSA lock.

    stay safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Son_of_Perdition View Post
    A bullet can complicate the time it takes you to check your bags. The key words here are "UNLOADED FIREARMS" In the eyes of the TSA a bullet is an explosive devise and explosive devises take down airplanes. We all know that your .22LR is not going to make it past your socks let alone get out of your luggage if it went off. But it will make your day a long one when you go to check that bag. If your shooting for cheep, I would use a boat flare gun to skirt under the law. Just be sure to leave the flares at home and shoot them off at new-year (Cheep fireworks).
    Also the answer is YES. Your entire piece of luggage can be and is the locked container.
    "Ammunition - Check with your airline or travel agent to see if ammunition is permitted in checked baggage on the airline you are flying. If ammunition is permitted, it must be declared to the airline at check-in. Small arms ammunitions for personal use must be securely packed in fiber, wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition." http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...d-items.shtm#6

    Ammunition is permitted and has to be declared just the same as a firearm.

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    Regular Member rotty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Cite please?

    My memory says locked (non-TSA lock) container inside a hard-cased container (suitcase/whatever) that also is locked, but merely with a TSA lock.

    stay safe.
    If the bag is hard sided, such as a pelican case, it is considered adequate. Itravel with a small .45 auto in a soft case inside a pelican case and have never had an issue declaring the firearm itself or the 2 loaded magazines I carry which are also declared. I do not use a TSA lock I use a fortified master lock to which I carry the key with me once the baggage has been cleared.

    http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...rial_1666.shtm
    Last edited by rotty; 10-03-2010 at 09:23 AM.
    - Knowledge is power and there IS strength in numbers -

    "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
    - Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Cite please?

    My memory says locked (non-TSA lock) container inside a hard-cased container (suitcase/whatever) that also is locked, but merely with a TSA lock.

    stay safe.
    The key regulatory requirements to transporting firearms, firearm parts or ammunition in checked baggage are:

    You must declare all firearms to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.

    The firearm must be unloaded.

    The firearm must be in a hard-sided container.

    The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from access by anyone other than you. Cases that can be pulled open with little effort do not meet this criterion. The pictures provided here illustrate the difference between a properly packaged and an improperly packaged firearm.

    We recommend that you provide the key or combination to the security officer if he or she needs to open the container. You should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation. If you are not present and the security officer must open the container, we or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact you. If we can't contact you, the container will not be placed on the plane. Federal regulations prohibit unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) on aircraft.

    You must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging that is specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.

    You can't use firearm magazines/clips for packing ammunition unless they completely and securely enclose the ammunition (e.g., by securely covering the exposed portions of the magazine or by securely placing the magazine in a pouch, holder, holster or lanyard).

    You may carry the ammunition in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as you pack it as described above.

    You can't bring black powder or percussion caps used with black-powder type firearms in either your carry-on or checked baggage.

    We and other authorities strictly enforce these regulations. Violations can result in criminal prosecution and civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.

    Airlines may have their own additional requirements on the carriage of firearms and the amount of ammunition that you may have in your checked baggage. Therefore, travelers should also contact the airline regarding its firearm and ammunition carriage policies.

    http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...rial_1666.shtm
    Last edited by chewy352; 10-03-2010 at 09:26 AM. Reason: Readability

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    Quote Originally Posted by Son_of_Perdition View Post
    A bullet can complicate the time it takes you to check your bags. The key words here are "UNLOADED FIREARMS" In the eyes of the TSA a bullet is an explosive devise and explosive devises take down airplanes. We all know that your .22LR is not going to make it past your socks let alone get out of your luggage if it went off. But it will make your day a long one when you go to check that bag. If your shooting for cheep, I would use a boat flare gun to skirt under the law. Just be sure to leave the flares at home and shoot them off at new-year (Cheep fireworks).
    Also the answer is YES. Your entire piece of luggage can be and is the locked container.
    How often do you fly with firearms?


    I've flown many times and check-in has always been a breeze. My wife doesn't like that I carry but she prefers that I fly with it, since it cuts our curb-to-gate time to 5-10 minutes. We never wait in any line, at all, nor do we endure any hassle that I can't resolve in under 30 seconds. I always fly with 3 loaded magazines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hef View Post
    How often do you fly with firearms?


    I've flown many times and check-in has always been a breeze. My wife doesn't like that I carry but she prefers that I fly with it, since it cuts our curb-to-gate time to 5-10 minutes. We never wait in any line, at all, nor do we endure any hassle that I can't resolve in under 30 seconds. I always fly with 3 loaded magazines.
    He probably was referring to flying with ammo only. He may have a point to the extent that flying with ammo without a firearm is sure to at least raise questions. My proposal was looking to simplify matters in the event that I would fly to Illinois, where carry is generally prohibited. Some have suggested packing a flare gun or a starter's pistol, each of which would have the desired effect of packing a firearm, but would possibly legal (I don't know) to carry in Illinois.

    On packing the ammo, am I reading the regulations correctly? Ammo in a magazine, with the magazine in a magazine pouch, packaged inside the secure case meets TSA regs?

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    Regular Member rotty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    On packing the ammo, am I reading the regulations correctly? Ammo in a magazine, with the magazine in a magazine pouch, packaged inside the secure case meets TSA regs?
    That is exactly how I pack mine and I have yet to have an issue.
    - Knowledge is power and there IS strength in numbers -

    "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
    - Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by rotty View Post
    That is exactly how I pack mine and I have yet to have an issue.
    Thanks.

    How about the issue of dealing with the firearm when you get to your destination if that locale is firearm-hostile, say Chicago?

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    Regular Member rotty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Thanks.

    How about the issue of dealing with the firearm when you get to your destination if that locale is firearm-hostile, say Chicago?
    Honestly I am sure I have broken a few laws in regards to that but my personal safety has always trumped law for me. Not to say that is a smart way to look at things but it is how I see things.

    I have only had one interaction with a LEO while traveling and it was to report a theft from my vehicle. The LEO that took the report saw the GLOCK sticker on the back window and gave me the speech that I was not allowed to possess a weapon in MA without a permit. Off the record he told me that there was a robbery, assault, and rape in the hotel I was staying in the previous night and said " if I was staying here I also would be armed if I had the means"

    I personally just make sure it's trunked, unloaded, and locked where I am not allowed to carry with my current permits and I pray I wont have any issues.
    - Knowledge is power and there IS strength in numbers -

    "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
    - Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by rotty View Post
    Honestly I am sure I have broken a few laws in regards to that but my personal safety has always trumped law for me. Not to say that is a smart way to look at things but it is how I see things.

    I have only had one interaction with a LEO while traveling and it was to report a theft from my vehicle. The LEO that took the report saw the GLOCK sticker on the back window and gave me the speech that I was not allowed to possess a weapon in MA without a permit. Off the record he told me that there was a robbery, assault, and rape in the hotel I was staying in the previous night and said " if I was staying here I also would be armed if I had the means"

    I personally just make sure it's trunked, unloaded, and locked where I am not allowed to carry with my current permits and I pray I wont have any issues.
    I figgered that was the answer. It is unacceptable that LACs' right to carry in every State is not respected. The long slide into restricting gun rights has been halted, and we are moving in the other direction. Unfortunately, it is harder to climb than to slide.

    Sorry, I didn't meant to preach to the choir.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    He probably was referring to flying with ammo only. He may have a point to the extent that flying with ammo without a firearm is sure to at least raise questions. My proposal was looking to simplify matters in the event that I would fly to Illinois, where carry is generally prohibited. Some have suggested packing a flare gun or a starter's pistol, each of which would have the desired effect of packing a firearm, but would possibly legal (I don't know) to carry in Illinois.
    I didn't interpret it that way. Maybe I should re-read his post. I took it as "flying with ANY ammo" will cause delays and hassles.

    On packing the ammo, am I reading the regulations correctly? Ammo in a magazine, with the magazine in a magazine pouch, packaged inside the secure case meets TSA regs?
    That is correct. I have heard some airlines want the ammo in the original cardboard packaging, but my experience has been that magazines inserted top-down in closed mag pouches are perfectly acceptable.

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    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post

    On packing the ammo, am I reading the regulations correctly? Ammo in a magazine, with the magazine in a magazine pouch, packaged inside the secure case meets TSA regs?

    the TSA regs allow it as long as the exposed end of the mag is covered as in putting the mag into a holder upside down. The problem is the airline may not allow it. don't take the chance just have ammo in original containers

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    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Cite please?

    My memory says locked (non-TSA lock) container inside a hard-cased container (suitcase/whatever) that also is locked, but merely with a TSA lock.

    stay safe.
    The TSA reg only mentions that your firearm be in a hard sided locked case that only you have the key to. If that case is also your suitcase then you have complied with the reg. I know a guy who uses a large Pelican case to put both his clothes and firearms in. Presto, locked secure luggage. he has never had a problem .If you travel with your locked case in your luggage make sure your firearm declaration is not inside the pistol case If TSA needs to conduct a secondary inspection and they can't see it your luggage may not go on the plane until it's checked for that. Some airline employees tell you to put the card in your pistol case. That's incorrect. I checked with TSA on this

    TSA REGS
    # ou must declare all firearms to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
    # The firearm must be unloaded.
    # The firearm must be in a hard-sided container.
    # The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from access by anyone other than you. Cases that can be pulled open with little effort do not meet this criterion. The pictures provided here illustrate the difference between a properly packaged and an improperly packaged firearm.
    # We recommend that you provide the key or combination to the security officer if he or she needs to open the container. You should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation. If you are not present and the security officer must open the container, we or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact you. If we can't contact you, the container will not be placed on the plane. Federal regulations prohibit unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) on aircraft.
    # You must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging that is specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
    # You can't use firearm magazines/clips for packing ammunition unless they completely and securely enclose the ammunition (e.g., by securely covering the exposed portions of the magazine or by securely placing the magazine in a pouch, holder, holster or lanyard).
    # You may carry the ammunition in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as you pack it as described above.
    # You can't bring black powder or percussion caps used with black-powder type firearms in either your carry-on or checked baggage.
    no mention of 2 cases. like OC if not prohibited it's allowed
    Last edited by swinokur; 10-03-2010 at 11:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    I was under the impression that the firearm was supposed to be in a locked container inside your luggage. Is your entire piece of luggage being the locked container another option or the only option?

    I usually travel with a hard-sided plastic American Tourister suitcase, which is lockable. The requirement for a separate hard-sided container to be placed within the suitcase is an airline or check-in-agent dependent matter. The federal requirement is for the gun to be within a "hard sided case", but is otherwise unspecified. As a matter of routine, I just place my gun in a plastic gun case within the larger suitcase, and place locks on BOTH. I also demand that TSA review my suitcase in my presence during check-in.

    Two common problems I have encountered:

    The check-in agent who demands to "inspect" the weapon to see if it is unloaded. I immediately call for a supervisor if this happens, without arguing the point. I then explain that federal law/regulation requires only that the traveler certify that the gun is unloaded by signing a declaration which is placed INSIDE the suitcase. The law does not require the traveler to demonstrate via inspection to the airline or TSA that the firearm is in fact unloaded. If they refuse to accept that, I produce the airline's own tariff (contract of carriage) and point out to the agent that such an inspection is not required by the contract of carriage. If TSA mandates an inspection, even though the regs (to my knowledge...of course TSA regs are secret......) do not require an inspection of the weapon, I generally do not argue the point. I do refuse to handle the weapon myself, stating clearly that to do so in an airport is unsafe, and insist that TSA secure the services of an armed law enforcement officer to do the inspection, as TSA agents are not trained in the safe handling of firearms.

    The NEW YORK?NEW JERSEY problem. Never ever ever(!) accept a trip that routes you through/into an airport into one of those states. That is the simplest way to solve the myriad problems with traveling with weapons in those states. Spend your travel dollars in another state that respects the Constitution.

    Although I have rarely had any problems traveling with a checked pistol, I always travel with a copy of the airline's contract of carriage, the TSA rules for traveling with firearms, the federal regulations and laws dealing with traveling with a firearm, and finally a copy of laws of the states into/through which I am traveling, and I never hesitate to pull them out and read them to people who don't understand them.
    Last edited by Nanook; 10-03-2010 at 11:22 PM.

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    Thanks for replying to my first.

    Thanks for replying to my first post.

    I enjoyed everyone's comments!
    Last edited by lowflier; 10-04-2010 at 10:10 PM. Reason: Incomplete title.

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    Flying with Firearms through restrictive states...From what I have read and heard, it's not an issue to transport them. You have the legal right to do so. Just make sure you check with each airline your dealing with and know the transport statutes in each state you will be traveling in. But of course this is not legal advice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rotty View Post
    If the bag is hard sided, such as a pelican case, it is considered adequate. Itravel with a small .45 auto in a soft case inside a pelican case and have never had an issue declaring the firearm itself or the 2 loaded magazines I carry which are also declared. I do not use a TSA lock I use a fortified master lock to which I carry the key with me once the baggage has been cleared.

    http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...rial_1666.shtm
    The regulations require original ammo boxes, not mags. I had to dump a mag once to be able to fly. They wouldn't allow a loaded mag on the plane. This was before 9/11.

    OOPS I stand corrected on the mags thing and now know why I had a problem, I didn't have them in mag holders.
    Last edited by OldCurlyWolf; 10-06-2010 at 03:31 AM.
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    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    TSA is usually OK with mags. as long as they are packed according to their regs. (open end down in mag holder) It's usually the airline that doesn't like them and can require packing in boxes

    Be safe and just pack ammo in original boxes. Be advised there are also weight restrictions for ammo and not every airline is the same. As an example United allows 11 lbs. but Alaska Air allows 50 lbs. Check the airline web site for weight allowances.
    Last edited by swinokur; 10-06-2010 at 07:18 AM.

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