First time flying with gun -- am I doing it wrong?


spdracr39

New member
Everytime I have flown they have removed zipties and or non tsa lock to examine the contents. Maybe your airports work differently but that's the way they do it in my part of the world whether it's right or wrong I can't say. I am speaking strictly on the suitcase not the gun case.
 

Firefighterchen

OC for Tactical Advantage
Everytime I have flown they have removed zipties and or non tsa lock to examine the contents. Maybe your airports work differently but that's the way they do it in my part of the world whether it's right or wrong I can't say. I am speaking strictly on the suitcase not the gun case.

I completely agree if the case being opened was a suitcase not declared to have a firearm directly inside.

When the suitcase is the actual gun case (Elenor situation or say a rifle case), by law it has to have a non tsa lock, and they have to follow strict protocol before they can open such a case no matter what airport it is.

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NavyLCDR

New member
When the suitcase is the actual gun case (Elenor situation or say a rifle case), by law it has to have a non tsa lock, and they have to follow strict protocol before they can open such a case no matter what airport it is.

And the easiest protocol to follow is to call the passenger to open it (or illegally provide them the key to open it, which they will request first). They won't care what flight you are on or when it is leaving. Personally, I think zip ties just scream, "Cut me off, I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU TO!" Followed in a few seconds by, "OK", snip, snip.
 

Firefighterchen

OC for Tactical Advantage
And the easiest protocol to follow is to call the passenger to open it (or illegally provide them the key to open it, which they will request first). They won't care what flight you are on or when it is leaving. Personally, I think zip ties just scream, "Cut me off, I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU TO!" Followed in a few seconds by, "OK", snip, snip.

Zip ties aren't sufficient to lock a gun case. When they X-ray the case they will see the declaration page. At that point they know the bag has been searched by tsa or an airport employee at the counter.

Could they call the passenger back up? Of course. I've never been, but then again I request they search and X-ray my bag in my presence at the counter. I also take pictures of my bag open and closed.

Fyi to everyone, once you fly enough you will learn...If you miss your flight because of them you can make them pay. My dad and I missed our flight to Japan because we tried getting a round of golf in...totally our fault...They sent us to another airliner to honor our tickets, who denied us, we went back to our original airlines and demanded they fix their mistake for embarrassing us...in the end we received a free flight to Hawaii, free hotel in Hawaii, on a one night layover to Japan.

YMMV.

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GHF

New member
When I Fly...

Having traveled a number of times via airplanes, here's how I go at it:




  1. Review Link Removed to understand TSA policies and procedures. Have a copy with you when you reach the airport.

  1. Put the unloaded weapon(s) in a lockable hard-sided case with locks only you have the keys/combination to open. TSA locks are not allowed.

  1. Steps that will make it easier to show that the weapon is unloaded - especially when x-rayed.


  • [*=1]If the weapon is a:


  • [*=1]semi-automatic


    • [*=1]lock the slide open
      [*=1]put a cable tie through the barrel and out the breach to show that the chamber is empty


  • [*=1]revolver, flip the cylinder out


  • [*=1]Do not put the magazines in this locked case with the gun(s):


  • [*=1]it invites questions about them being loaded
    [*=1]if the gun case is "liberated" from the checked bag by a Criminal Entrepreneur, the lack of magazines frustrates the "Liberator", since the weapon is now initially a single shot one

  1. Check the airline(s) you are flying on:


  • [*=1]To determine if the ammo


  • [*=1]MUST be in boxes (plastic reload boxes work)
    [*=1]can fly in loaded magazines


  • [*=1]If loaded magazines are permitted, make sure the pouches fully cover the magazine top where the cartridges are visible.
    [*=1]The round(s) from the chamber(s)/cylinder(s) must be in a box, not loose

  1. Secure and protect magazines (separately from the weapon) and ammunition boxes from possible damage.

  1. Put the lockable hard-sided case with the weapon and the ammo/magazines into a cheap, non-descript bag - with clear labeling outside and inside - for checking in.


  • [*=1]If possible, develop a way to attach - in a lockable way - the hard-sided case to the piece of luggage it has been placed into.


  • [*=1]The labeling should be limited to:

    • Your Name
    • Your Cell Phone - if you have one, or your home phone if you do not
    • Your personal email address - if you have one
    • NO ADDRESSES, JOB TITLES, ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD BE INDICATED

  1. Other stuff - like shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste, etc, could be in this checked bag also.

  1. Have the rules for the airline in hand when you check this non-descript bag at the airport.

  1. Make sure you have the keys/combinations to the lockable hard-sided case with you and you alone (Per Federal Regulations 49CFR § 1540.111 Carriage of weapons, explosives, and incendiaries by individuals - Link Removed) at all times. You will have to open the lockable hard-side case:


  • [*=1]to demonstrate to the airline that the weapon(s) are not loaded at check in (a signed form/tag indicating that will go in with the weapon(s))
    [*=1]if the TSA wants to see

  1. Have the serial number(s) and descriptions of your weapons on you, so if they "disappear" you can report the loss/theft immediately to the:


  • [*=1]airline
    [*=1]FAA Regional Office
    [*=1]ATF Regional Office

Other things to consider:

  1. Check Handgunlaw.us and/or Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity Maps - USA Carry to determine:


  • [*=1]If you can possess the weapon at all your stops
    [*=1]Where and how you can carry at all your stops
    [*=1]What are the deadly force rules in each state you are visiting

  1. Have a copy of the Don Young Transportation Letter on hand - http://www.handgunlaw.us/documents/doj_doc_nyc_air.pdf. This covers changing modes of travel - car to plane to car - in a single journey.
 

telpinaro

New member
Not that it needs saying, but... one thing I do know for sure is remember to say "I need to declare a firearm," don't walk up to the counter and announce "I have a gun!" :wink:
 

edprof

New member
My first time was two weeks ago, Little Rock to Pensacola via Atlanta. Yes, I was a little apprehensive about it. The Delta lady doing check-in at Little Rock was helpful in coaching me to wrap the cable of my lock around the handle of my hard-sided case so a baggage handler etc couldn't pilfer my 9mm out of there. From the nice Delta lady I also learned that my ammunition did not have to be inside the handgun case, so next time, I will choose a smaller lockable case. Then she dropped the magic orange tag inside my luggage. I never saw a TSA agent in the same context with my luggage, the handgun, and my luggage on the rest of the trip.

On the way home, I once again told the ticket agent "I wish to declare an unloaded, locked firearm inside my checked luggage" and the Pensacola check-in employee had me sign the orange tag, this time without even asking me to open it or show it to him.

Apparently it's the folks who don't declare that find themselves in a heap of trouble. Honesty was the best policy on this trip.
 

photographix

New member
...On the way home, I once again told the ticket agent "I wish to declare an unloaded, locked firearm inside my checked luggage" and the Pensacola check-in employee had me sign the orange tag, this time without even asking me to open it or show it to him.

Apparently it's the folks who don't declare that find themselves in a heap of trouble. Honesty was the best policy on this trip.

This is good to know. Thanks for the advice!
 

agman

New member
Elenor,

I fly quite often with my firearm. I glanced through some of this thread, and saw you were getting some pretty interesting advice.

Keep it simple. Put a good heavy duty padlock on your hard case, inside your regular suitcase. I added a nice bicycle lock through the handle of my case, then wrapped it around the inside "frame" of my suitcase. That effectively prevents any smash and grabs. The deceleration form MUST go INSIDE your suitcase, but OUTSIDE of your hard sided locked gun case. Southwest tapes it to the top of your case, United just sets it in your suitcase, I always ask that it be taped onto my case.

I have only been asked to open my case one time, by the ticket agent. She even touched my handguns to see if the mag was out (she was clueless). After we were done, I asked Southwest corporate if they were allowed to touch or handle firearms, and if the gate agents were certified to handle firearms. They were profusely apologetic, said it would never happen again, that normally the case shouldn't be opened, and that they agents were never supposed to touch a firearm. They assured me that the situation would be addressed, and said that they would make sure all of their employees at that airport were retrained.

I would also put a label on the outside of your gun case (not your suit case) with your phone number, and a statement asking them to call you if they have any issues. When I was flying out of Phoenix one time, they had my bag for 1.5 hours, before they called me to say they wanted to see inside my case. I had to deboard, and miss my flight, so they could look inside (but that is another story). They claimed that it took them that long to find my number...hogwash.

I always tell the ticket agent that, "I am declaring a firearm in this bag."

I have never been asked to demonstrate that my firearm is clear. If that happens, I will ask for them to call airport police to come clear it. With the sheeple today, I do not want to be seen handling a firearm in an airport. I will politely ask for airport police to come clear it, or be there when I clear it.

I don't even lock my suitcase. It looks just like everybody else's bag, and criminals know you usually lock what you don't want them to take. I also double check to make sure my gun case is still in my suit case when I take it off the carousal. That way you catch any problems before you leave.

Don't worry about it too much. Sounds like you have done your homework, and you will be fine.

Cheers,
AG
 

apvbguy

New member
Elenor,

but OUTSIDE of your hard sided locked gun case. Southwest tapes it to the top of your case, United just sets it in your suitcase,

you experience does not match mine. I never traveled with a gun on southwest or united but I have many times on american and once on delta and every time the airline personnel asked to see the unloaded weapon and had me place the card INSIDE the locked box containing the weapon.
YMMV
 

NavyLCDR

New member
you experience does not match mine. I never traveled with a gun on southwest or united but I have many times on american and once on delta and every time the airline personnel asked to see the unloaded weapon and had me place the card INSIDE the locked box containing the weapon.
YMMV

The problem with the declaration tag being inside the locked gun case is that if TSA wants to verify that it is a true and signed declaration tag they have to call you to open your locked pistol case. If it is outside the locked pistol case, inside the luggage they can inspect it without your presence. My luggage had the TSA notification of inspection in it when I arrived at my destination.
 

apvbguy

New member
The problem with the declaration tag being inside the locked gun case is that if TSA wants to verify that it is a true and signed declaration tag they have to call you to open your locked pistol case. If it is outside the locked pistol case, inside the luggage they can inspect it without your presence. My luggage had the TSA notification of inspection in it when I arrived at my destination.
like I said I've always been told to place the tag inside with the gun and I have never had to be called for any sort of extra inspection
 

agman

New member
like I said I've always been told to place the tag inside with the gun and I have never had to be called for any sort of extra inspection

What airline? I would like to contact them and find out their official policy. The way a TSA supervisor told it to me is, that it has to be on the outside of the gun case, so they can see it was declared. Otherwise, an XRay machine can't read paper (at least that is what he said). Makes sense to me. Outside of the gun case, inside the suitcase. I could see that being different with long guns, or a bigger case. I always travel with my handguns in a locked case inside of my suitcase.

FWIW

Peace
 

Firefighterchen

OC for Tactical Advantage
What airline? I would like to contact them and find out their official policy. The way a TSA supervisor told it to me is, that it has to be on the outside of the gun case, so they can see it was declared. Otherwise, an XRay machine can't read paper (at least that is what he said). Makes sense to me. Outside of the gun case, inside the suitcase. I could see that being different with long guns, or a bigger case. I always travel with my handguns in a locked case inside of my suitcase.

FWIW

Peace

Two years ago Alaska and delta both had me put the tag inside the gun case. Starting about 9 months ago, they had me tape it to the outside of my gun case.

Unless elenor is going to pay for another gun case, her situation doesn't involve an internal gun case, but just a hard sided suitcase (basically a large gun case).

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telpinaro

New member
According to Kathy Jackson (Cornered Cat), if the airline wants you to put the tag inside the gun case, you can ask for a second one to place on top, just in case TSA wants to inspect it.
 

Elenor

New member
Thanks agman!
Elenor,
I fly quite often with my firearm. I glanced through some of this thread, and saw you were getting some pretty interesting advice.
Keep it simple. Put a good heavy duty padlock on your hard case, inside your regular suitcase. ... The declaration form MUST go INSIDE your suitcase, but OUTSIDE of your hard sided locked gun case.
Yeah, but see? THAT is what I'm trying to find a way to avoid. I want to have the non-TSA lock on the outside of the actual suitcase (hard-sided, of course). Except... then it means the airline declaration has to go out on the outside of the actual suitcase, which is a flag for (whole bag) theft... but ... I was hoping for a way to keep the whole doggoned thing secure! I'll be carrying nearly $2k worth of 'gear' in that suitcase -- the gauges and devices my company makes; it's partly/mostly a sales trip to my biggest distributor.

I think I may have to go back to my first plan, which was to ship the gear down there by UPS... (Which I planned to do on my way home.. The sales call is followed by a drive down the Keys Hwy (in a rented convertible!!) and a couple days in a B&B in Key West... :laugh: :dance3: )


I added a nice bicycle lock through the handle of my case, then wrapped it around the inside "frame" of my suitcase. That effectively prevents any smash and grabs.
I got my GunVault yesterday (thanks for the advice, folks!) -- and it came in a plastic clam-shell taped (badly) and, while the vault itself worked, the side 'rail' (that I suppose is supposed to prevent a screwdriver from getting inside?) was rusted AND not welded to the vault body! (!!!) Ordered it from Amazon -- so it went right straight back, and they're sending another...


I would also put a label on the outside of your gun case (not your suit case) with your phone number, and a statement asking them to call you if they have any issues.
When I was flying out of Phoenix one time, they had my bag for 1.5 hours, before they called me to say they wanted to see inside my case. I had to deboard, and miss my flight, so they could look inside (but that is another story). They claimed that it took them that long to find my number...hogwash.
Several folks have offered (and I will take!) advice to ask them, when the TSA are 'clearing' the gun, to also do their '"security" (we need a emoticon for disgusted!) search of the bag.

I don't even lock my suitcase. It looks just like everybody else's bag, and criminals know you usually lock what you don't want them to take. I also double check to make sure my gun case is still in my suit case when I take it off the carousal. That way you catch any problems before you leave.
EEK! I usually lock (yes, TSA-enabled crap locks) AND those notebook-rings that are so hard to open (on every suitcase compartment!). Oddly, I don't think I've ever had them cut... but I fly only 1-2 times a year... I HATE HATE HATE the thought of people going through my stuff!
 

apvbguy

New member
Thanks agman!
Yeah, but see? THAT is what I'm trying to find a way to avoid. I want to have the non-TSA lock on the outside of the actual suitcase (hard-sided, of course).
that will not be acceptable you need to visit the TSA site, read the rules and regs and then follow the rules and regs
 

Firefighterchen

OC for Tactical Advantage
that will not be acceptable you need to visit the TSA site, read the rules and regs and then follow the rules and regs

Where in the tsa website does it say that is unacceptable?

What does someone do if they are traveling with rifles, and have a non tsa lock on their hard sided rifle case?

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