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Thread: Declaring an unloaded/locked pistol in checked luggage (JFK)

  1. #1
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    Declaring an unloaded/locked pistol in checked luggage (JFK)

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the forums here and wanted to introduce myself- in addition I have a question in regards to the above. I currently have a permit to carry a pistol or revolver in the state of CT. I will be flying to another state in Dec. and would like to fit in some target shooting with my brother (I will be flying from JFK). From what I can glean in speaking with others, I will not be allowed (& probably arrested) if I try to declare an unloaded/locked pistol as part of my checked baggage as I don't have a NY state or NYC carry permit. Can anyone verify this or share an experience? I phoned the port authority this afternoon in which the conversation went something like this:

    Desk Sargeant: May I help you?
    Me: Hello, just a quick question: If I am a resident of CT with a valid permit, can I declare a firearm as part of my checked luggage when traveling from JFK?
    Desk Sargeant: Is it a pistol or long gun?
    Me: Pistol
    Desk Sargeant: Do you have a carry permit issued by NYC or NY state?
    Me: No, but it will be unloaded & locked in a hard sided container which follows federal requirements.
    Desk Sargeant: Leave it at home (followed by click and dial tone).

    After having this conversation I suppose I will be using my brothers guns (or ship mine via FFL to FFL, as I really don't want to be arrested right around Christmas (my wife wouldn't be too understanding...).

    Comments? Suggestions (besides using another airport, which is tempting)?

    Thank you.

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    Welcome, Sgt. Kabukiman! I cannot answer your question, but I want to thank you for thinking we can be a resource on gun law. You came to the right place. I am sure someone here will be able to help you.

    Now, if you are ever curious about Alabama gun law...

    Anyway, I am anxious to hear the answer to your question. I wondered about how transporting a gun on an airplane works when one of the terminals is in an extremely gun-unfriendly State. If both endpoints are gun-friendly, its easy, just follow the federal rules. When a State like NY gets involved...uh oh.

    We have had discussions regarding transport of guns on airplanes before, so I am sure we have someone here who can help you. Again, welcome.
    Last edited by eye95; 11-22-2010 at 05:43 PM.

  3. #3
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    While I am of the opinion that the Federal Firearms Owners Protection Act will apply; however, a major caviat is in order: "Travelers should be aware that some state and local governments treat this federal provision as an “affirmative defense” that may only be raised after an arrest."
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18...6---A000-.html

    I do not see where one cannot change "vehicles" and there should be a way to handle that. However, if it were me I would avoid the potential of major problems by selecting one of your other obvious options.

    One thing I do NOT understand is why you would pick a screen name which in and of itself seems to make a claim of being a NY LEO, who of course would be afforded a completely different set of circumstances not requiring a permit etc.. I understand that you have made it clear that you are a resident of Connecticut and have a permit from there.

    The mere existence of this two things together creates certain questions in my mind.


    ETA: Well again I have been educated beyond my realm of knowledge. This time by Eye95 in the post following. Makes sense to me now.
    Last edited by Grapeshot; 11-22-2010 at 06:48 PM. Reason: added ETA
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    IANAL, but my research suggests that this is exactly one of the cases for which the FOPA was created. I seriously doubt you would end up with a conviction.

    HOWEVER, I don't for one second believe that would stop the NYC police from arresting you, and maybe even the DA from putting you on trial, regardless of the fact that federal law prohibits it. Even if you eventually win out, you will spend a lot of time in jail (and treated like a common criminal), and also spend a lot of money defending yourself. That's how the anti's think of us: as common criminals, even though most of us have never broken any law more serious than a speeding violation. It doesn't matter that you are in the right. They will take things as far as they can get away with.

    I'd suggest either using your brother's guns, or taking a plane from a local airport.

  6. #6
    Regular Member Coded-Dude's Avatar
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    call the airline you are flying with.
    If guns cause crime.....mine must be defective.

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    I've flown to/from CT many times. If you don't have a NY permit (and only residents get them), you can't carry a gun in NY. The only exception is LEOSA. As far as 926A, NY interprets your check-in at the airport as a "destination" in NY, rather than passing through, and (in their opinion) 926A therefore does not apply, and you will be arrested for a felony weapons possession.

    Fly out of Bradley, or leave your gun at home. That's all you can do.

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    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    I am attaching a letter from the DOJ giving their opinion that FOPA does indeed cover you when flying from a NY or NJ airport. Having said that, there have been 3 cases where travelers were arrested because of unusual circumstances. I have flown from both JFK and Laguardia as well as Newark without problems. I would print this letter and a copy of FOPA and bring it with you. If you have a bill of sale from your weapon that contains the serial number, I'd copy that and bring it along. IANAL

    Here are the cases:

    Revell vs Port Authority of Ny and NJ

    Ttorraco v. Port Authority of NY


    I think you will be ok as the cases listed involved very unusual circumstances. I believe in the Ttorraco cases FOPA was offered as an affirmative defense and charges were dropped eventually but a huge hassle for the guys involved.

    Again IANAL
    Last edited by swinokur; 11-22-2010 at 09:18 PM.

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    Thanks to all for your replies and warm welcome. It looks like the pistols will stay at home until things change.

    Grapeshot,

    I'm sorry for the extremely poor choice of name given the subject matter. Don't ask me why that awful movie popped into my head at the time of registration (I guess I had n.y.p.d. on the brain). If you have moderator/owner powers please feel free to chop the N.Y.P.D. portion from the name if you think it causes too much confusion.

    P.S. Never watch the above mentioned movie. It will melt your brain...

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    Quote Originally Posted by swinokur View Post
    I am attaching a letter from the DOJ giving their opinion that FOPA does indeed cover you when flying from a NY or NJ airport. Having said that, there have been 3 cases where travelers were arrested because of unusual circumstances. I have flown from both JFK and Laguardia as well as Newark without problems. I would print this letter and a copy of FOPA and bring it with you. If you have a bill of sale from your weapon that contains the serial number, I'd copy that and bring it along. IANAL

    Here are the cases:

    Revell vs Port Authority of Ny and NJ

    Ttorraco v. Port Authority of NY


    I think you will be ok as the cases listed involved very unusual circumstances. I believe in all cases FOPA was offered as an affirmative defense and charges were dropped eventually but a huge hassle for the guys involved.

    Again IANAL
    swinokur, GOOD info. Still, I'd love to hear about someone successfully using this letter to squelch an arrest before it actually happens.

  11. #11
    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention the 3 guys in the 2nd case had basically won their case at the District Court level. They then appealed on the claim of violation of their civil rights under Federal 1983. The appeals court correctly shot them down IMO. But the gun issue had been settled in their favor until they got balsy and appealed.

    Revell had a connecting light canceled and had to stay at a hotel. The court ruled against his claimed FOPA protection because he took his suitcase to the hotel and therefore "had access" to his firearm. Technicality but he lost. If I get stuck in NY and NJ my luggage will stay in the airport, hopefully avoiding prosecution if I never put my hands on it. This is why I have a change of clothes in my carry on.

    I hope this helps somebody avoid all the Bravo Sierra

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. View Post
    Thanks to all for your replies and warm welcome. It looks like the pistols will stay at home until things change.

    Grapeshot,

    I'm sorry for the extremely poor choice of name given the subject matter. Don't ask me why that awful movie popped into my head at the time of registration (I guess I had n.y.p.d. on the brain). If you have moderator/owner powers please feel free to chop the N.Y.P.D. portion from the name if you think it causes too much confusion.

    P.S. Never watch the above mentioned movie. It will melt your brain...
    Not a problem - now that I know what is referenced, it is indeed funny.

    Quote Originally Posted by swinokur View Post
    I am attaching a letter from the DOJ giving their opinion that FOPA does indeed cover you when flying from a NY or NJ airport. Having said that, there have been 3 cases where travelers were arrested because of unusual circumstances. I have flown from both JFK and Laguardia as well as Newark without problems. I would print this letter and a copy of FOPA and bring it with you. If you have a bill of sale from your weapon that contains the serial number, I'd copy that and bring it along. IANAL


    Here are the cases:

    Revell vs Port Authority of Ny and NJ

    Ttorraco v. Port Authority of NY


    I think you will be ok as the cases listed involved very unusual circumstances. I believe in all cases FOPA was offered as an affirmative defense and charges were dropped eventually but a huge hassle for the guys involved.

    Again IANAL

    Couldn't help but notice it took them about a year and a half to answer that inquiry (see attachment referenced) and that it was dated 2005. I'm sure I remember some negative interaction in a NY airport over the last 5 years, but my google fu fails me tonight.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Not a problem - now that I know what is referenced, it is indeed funny.



    Couldn't help but notice it took them about a year and a half to answer that inquiry (see attachment referenced) and that it was dated 2005. I'm sure I remember some negative interaction in a NY airport over the last 5 years, but my google fu fails me tonight.
    Google the 2 cases I referenced in my post. Those are the only ones I can find. There was another over an arrest for travelers driving between JFK and Laguardia but I can't find it. I think it was on the NRA web site
    Last edited by swinokur; 11-22-2010 at 09:35 PM.

  14. #14
    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    oops.

    wrong thread?


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    Quote Originally Posted by swinokur View Post
    oops.

    wrong thread?

    Yes. I was replying to one thread and the system dumped it in another. I deleted it really fast. Not fast enough, I guess.

    PTI.

  16. #16
    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Yes. I was replying to one thread and the system dumped it in another. I deleted it really fast. Not fast enough, I guess.

    PTI.
    I hate when that happens...


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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the forums here and wanted to introduce myself- in addition I have a question in regards to the above. I currently have a permit to carry a pistol or revolver in the state of CT. I will be flying to another state in Dec. and would like to fit in some target shooting with my brother (I will be flying from JFK). From what I can glean in speaking with others, I will not be allowed (& probably arrested) if I try to declare an unloaded/locked pistol as part of my checked baggage as I don't have a NY state or NYC carry permit. Can anyone verify this or share an experience? I phoned the port authority this afternoon in which the conversation went something like this:

    Desk Sargeant: May I help you?
    Me: Hello, just a quick question: If I am a resident of CT with a valid permit, can I declare a firearm as part of my checked luggage when traveling from JFK?
    Desk Sargeant: Is it a pistol or long gun?
    Me: Pistol
    Desk Sargeant: Do you have a carry permit issued by NYC or NY state?
    Me: No, but it will be unloaded & locked in a hard sided container which follows federal requirements.
    Desk Sargeant: Leave it at home (followed by click and dial tone).

    After having this conversation I suppose I will be using my brothers guns (or ship mine via FFL to FFL, as I really don't want to be arrested right around Christmas (my wife wouldn't be too understanding...).

    Comments? Suggestions (besides using another airport, which is tempting)?

    Thank you.
    Check the Volkmer Act. 1986+/-

    The Firearm Owners' Protection Act (FOPA), Public Law No. 99-308, 100 Stat. 449 (May 19, 1986), codified at 18 U.S.C. 921 et seq., is a United States federal law that revised many statutes in the Gun Control Act of 1968.

    Print it. Send it to the Sergeant. Keep a copy of it with you. If someone tries to arrest you, you should be able to improve your bank account in a few months.

    Or you could leave it at home. Another scenario: Start your flight in CT and check your baggage through.

    I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do those things to other people and I require the same of them.

    Politicians should serve two terms, one in office and one in prison.(borrowed from RioKid)

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    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    In the second case I cited in an earlier post the Appeals Court ruled that the arrest at the airport was legal. FOPA won't keep you from being arrested. It can be used as an affirmative defense however. Waving a paper in front of the cop may help you, but it's not an iron clad way to prevent arrest. The only way to do that is avoid NY and NJ while flying.
    Last edited by swinokur; 11-23-2010 at 06:10 AM.

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    Post

    Thanks again for all the great information. In the future, I will be booking flights out of Bradley International Airport (even though it adds another hour + to my travel time). It looks like I can fly straight from there to Dallas (I could connect through JFK, but won't out of petty spite), then continue on to my final destination. Dear NY & NJ: You just lost my business....like they care, but it's the best I can do at this time.

    Perhaps, one day when I don't have family and employees depending on my immediate presence I will try to fly from JFK with letter in hand. Whether I would be arrested or not sounds like it would be based on the responding officer/s mood that particular day coupled with my ability to articulate why the arrest shouldn't occur. What a bunch of BS...

  20. #20
    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
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    NY and NJ....? Leave your guns and your Rights at home. Better yet... stay home.

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    ship'em instead

    I'm a little surprised that nobody has suggested that you simply ship the pistol(s) to yourself at your brother's house, and then ship them home afterwards (or, since you don't have to declare in NY on the way home, just carry them in checked baggage).

    You do not need to process them through an FFL to ship them to yourself.

    Timing may be an issue, you probably don't want your brother to sign for them, but you can specify "hold for pickup" at the destination.

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    Quote Originally Posted by architect View Post
    I'm a little surprised that nobody has suggested that you simply ship the pistol(s) to yourself at your brother's house, and then ship them home afterwards (or, since you don't have to declare in NY on the way home, just carry them in checked baggage).

    You do not need to process them through an FFL to ship them to yourself.

    Timing may be an issue, you probably don't want your brother to sign for them, but you can specify "hold for pickup" at the destination.

    Careful here. The BATFE is well known for it's immediate rule changes without notifying the public it has happened until after it's already in effect.

    Shipping across State lines, even to yourself, would require going through a FFL on both ends...unless someone knows something I've yet to find (if you do, please post it up and exactly where to find it in writing!). Warranty work seems to still remain a loophole.

    LEOSA is one way around the issue. The other way is to simiply avoid NY all together.

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    Just for fun, here's my account of traveling:

    http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/sh...king-long-post)

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    Quote Originally Posted by architect View Post
    I'm a little surprised that nobody has suggested that you simply ship the pistol(s) to yourself at your brother's house, and then ship them home afterwards (or, since you don't have to declare in NY on the way home, just carry them in checked baggage).

    You do not need to process them through an FFL to ship them to yourself.

    Timing may be an issue, you probably don't want your brother to sign for them, but you can specify "hold for pickup" at the destination.
    May a nonlicensee ship firearms interstate for his or her use in hunting or other lawful activity?
    Yes. A person may ship a firearm to himself or herself in care of another person in the state where he or she intends to hunt or engage in any other lawful activity. The package should be addressed to the owner. Persons other than the owner should not open the package and take possession of the firearm.

    A complete compendium of applicable company policies:
    http://www.thegunzone.com/ship-guns.html
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    May a nonlicensee ship firearms interstate for his or her use in hunting or other lawful activity?
    Yes. A person may ship a firearm to himself or herself in care of another person in the state where he or she intends to hunt or engage in any other lawful activity. The package should be addressed to the owner. Persons other than the owner should not open the package and take possession of the firearm.

    A complete compendium of applicable company policies:
    http://www.thegunzone.com/ship-guns.html
    That is a very good thing to know!

    Many thanks for that, Grapeshot!

    ETA: Oops, I mean Architect- the original poster. Thanks to grapeshot for the link, though.
    Last edited by Slayer of Paper; 11-23-2010 at 04:04 PM.

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