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Old September 30, 2009, 02:01 PM   #1
MrSmoofy
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Questions about checking firearms when flying

To those that have travelled on airlines with your guns checked hopefully the following questions can be answered.

1. The locks that should be used. Do they need to be of the TSA type? Seems like they shouldn't be according to the TSA website only the OWNER should be able to unlock no one else not even TSA.

2. Does the locked case need to be inside your suitcase?

3. If or if not inside your suitecase do they take the suitcase or locked gun box directly to the plane?

4. When you arrive is your suitecase or gun case just put on the general belt or do you need to go claim it from a secured area?

I will be travling from FL to MN with them and will be in MN for a few months (which I will probably get my MN or UT carry permit while I'm there).

Think I've narrowed it down to a Pelican 1300 which will hold 2 hand guns nicely. Just need to figure out which locks to get and if I need to just check the case or check it inside some lugage.

Thanks for the help.
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Old September 30, 2009, 03:14 PM   #2
brickeyee
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Quote:
1. The locks that should be used. Do they need to be of the TSA type? Seems like they shouldn't be according to the TSA website only the OWNER should be able to unlock no one else not even TSA.
They may NOT be TSA locks on the gun container.
You CAN use them on the suitcase.

Quote:
2. Does the locked case need to be inside your suitcase?
If you ever expect to see the gun again.
Just put the gun container inside a larger suitcase.
It works very well.

Quote:
3. If or if not inside your suitecase do they take the suitcase or locked gun box directly to the plane?
No one knows what is inside the suitcase, and no marking may be placed on the suitcase to indicate it contains a firearm.

Quote:
4. When you arrive is your suitecase or gun case just put on the general belt or do you need to go claim it from a secured area?
The suitcase goes on the baggage carousel.

Rifle cases are usually held at the office, since it is pretty easy to figure out what they are.
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Old October 1, 2009, 06:10 AM   #3
blume357
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The only thing I disagree with in the above post is about

no one knowing there is a gun in your luggage...

anyone at the airlines who has access to a computer terminal and can look up your luggage ID number can see that there is a gun checked in there.

trust me, I found out when my luggage got delayed.... when I got to my final destination and reported it... that's the first thing the airline folks said when they looked it up... "you have some type of gun in that luggage right?"
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Old October 1, 2009, 11:19 AM   #4
brickeyee
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Quote:
no one knowing there is a gun in your luggage...

anyone at the airlines who has access to a computer terminal and can look up your luggage ID number can see that there is a gun checked in there.
But they have to know the number to look it up.

Are you saying they all stand around typing in random numbers looking to see if there are guns in them?
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Old October 1, 2009, 12:19 PM   #5
Brian Pfleuger
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Straight from the horses mouth:

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

You may only transport firearms, ammunition and firearm parts in your checked baggage. Firearms, ammunition and firearm parts are prohibited from carry-on baggage.

There are certain limited exceptions for law enforcement officers who may fly armed by meeting the requirements of Title 49 CFR § 1544.219. Law enforcement officers should read our policies on traveling with guns.

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 present during screening to take the key back after the container is cleared. 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. TSA locks are not approved for securing firearms.
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.

Also, please note that many other countries have different laws that address transportation and possession of firearms. If you are traveling internationally, please check with the authorities at your destination about their requirements.
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; October 2, 2009 at 06:38 PM. Reason: Removed photo reference
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Old October 1, 2009, 01:04 PM   #6
carguychris
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Here is a link to a great video about transporting firearms by air. It was posted to the "Discussion" forum recently.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGjddG5Owsc

The video is actually from a computer-related conference since hardcore computer geeks have evidently discovered that traveling with firearms allows them to hard-lock their expensive and/or high-security tech gear in the same container. However, the guy giving the presentation is extremely knowledgeable and experienced, he obviously likes firearms, and all of the advice seems legally sound.

WARNING: The video has brief NSFW content- several 4-letter words and a brief sexual reference. Consider yourself warned.
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Old October 1, 2009, 01:19 PM   #7
carguychris
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Quote:
"2. Does the locked case need to be inside your suitcase?"

If you ever expect to see the gun again.
Just put the gun container inside a larger suitcase.
It works very well.
The spokesman in the video I just posted actually makes the case (no pun intended ) for using a large, separate container regardless of the size of the firearm. This makes it relatively difficult for a baggage handler or TSA screener to steal the gun case by concealing it under clothing or inside another container during a "routine" baggage search.

He states (albeit without references to actual instances) that the few times he's heard of gun cases disappearing during air travel occured because the traveler put a small pistol case inside a non-secured or TSA-locked suitcase.

Also, if it isn't obvious, the gun case should be made of a material that can't be readily cut with hand tools. Translation: thick steel. This rules out most gunmaker-provided and cheap aftermarket pistol cases, since they're usually plastic or aluminum.
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Old October 1, 2009, 02:03 PM   #8
maestro pistolero
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Quote:
Photo of a firearm properly packaged?
I've been traveling checking firearms for 20 years and that the first time I've heard that. I traveled as recently as last week and I have never been ask for a photo. Since it wasn't even a complete sentence, does that mean I need a photo in my possession, on my camera, on my computer? I need to produce a new photo of my packed firearm every time I fly? Something isn't adding up.
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Old October 1, 2009, 02:53 PM   #9
carguychris
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Quote:
I've been traveling checking firearms for 20 years and that the first time I've heard that. I traveled as recently as last week and I have never been ask for a photo. Since it wasn't even a complete sentence, does that mean I need a photo in my possession, on my camera, on my computer? I need to produce a new photo of my packed firearm every time I fly?
Uh, the "Photo of a firearm properly packaged." sentence is a photo caption from the TSA link. It snuck into Peetza's post when he/she apparently did a "Select All" and pasted the text.
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Old October 1, 2009, 05:32 PM   #10
maestro pistolero
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Quote:
Uh, the "Photo of a firearm properly packaged." sentence is a photo caption from the TSA link. It snuck into Peetza's post when he/she apparently did a "Select All" and pasted the text.
ROTFL
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Old October 1, 2009, 11:45 PM   #11
GHF
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Taking Your Pistole Along for the Flight

Having traveled a number of times, here's how I go at it:
  1. Review http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...rial_1666.shtm to understand TSA policies and procedures. Have a copy with you when you reach the airport.
  2. 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.
  3. Steps that will make it easier to show that the weapon is unloaded - especially when x-rayed.
    • If the weapon is a:
      • semi-automatic
        • lock the slide open
        • put a cable tie through the barrel and out the breach to show that the chamber is empty
      • revolver, flip the cylinder out
    • Do not put the magazines in this locked case with the gun(s):
      • it invites questions about them being loaded
      • 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
  4. Check the airline(s) you are flying on:
    • To determine if the ammo
      • MUST be in boxes (plastic reload boxes work)
      • can fly in loaded magazines
    • If loaded magazines are permitted, make sure the pouches fully cover the magazines
    • The round(s) from the chamber(s)/cylinder(s) must be in a box, not loose
  5. Secure and protect magazines (separately from the weapon) and ammunition boxes from possible damage.
  6. 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
  7. Other stuff - like shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste, etc, could be in this checked bag also.
  8. Have the rules for the airline in hand when you check this non-descript bag at the airport.
  9. 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 - http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text...2.10.6&idno=49) at all times. You will have to open the lockable hard-side case:
    • 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))
    • if the TSA wants to see
  10. 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:
    • airline
    • FAA Regional Office
    • ATF Regional Office
Other things to consider:
  1. Check www.handgunlaw.us and/or http://apps.carryconcealed.net/packngo/index.php to determine:
    • If you can possess the weapon at all your stops
    • Where and how you can carry at all your stops
    • What are the deadly force rules in each state you are visiting
  2. Have a copy of the Don Young Transportation Letter on hand - http://www.anjrpc.org/DefendingYourR...s%20letter.pdf. This covers changing modes of travel - car to plane to car - in a single journey.
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Old October 2, 2009, 06:53 AM   #12
blume357
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As a side note... I fly almost never and find the whole security thing a joke...

Flew out of Detroit last year to Amsterdam.... about 2 hours out it was time for dinner... very good meal with a steak..... eating utensils included a very nice metal steak knife.....
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Old October 2, 2009, 03:20 PM   #13
brickeyee
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Quote:
Yea, I think so. I looked at some factory rounds and I just can't believe the bullet reaches that far down in the case.
They started allowing actual metal knives for eating back on the planes a wile ago.

I think that a knife wielding hijacker is not going to survive the other passengers.
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Old October 5, 2009, 10:25 AM   #14
MrSmoofy
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Wanted to post my experience with flying with Delta and 2 firearms declared.

I had posted some questions and thank you goes to "brickeyee" for answering them. They were on this thread but appear to have been deleted or something.

Anyways I flew yesterday (10/4/2009) on a Delta/NWA direct flight from FL to MN.

I contacted TSA and Delta to make sure I had all the rules down and it was easier and quicker then I imaged it would be.

1. I bought a Pelican 1300 case and 2 master lock shackle style locks for the case. These are not TSA locks. Per TSA's site they don't want anyone but you to be able to open the box.
2. I placed my locked box in my suitcase where I used TSA shackle locks on the suite case.
3. When I contacted Delta they said I should go to a ticket agent and not the kiosks. So I did she asked how I could help, I told her I was checking my back with 2 firearms. She said ok filled out a bright orange card. Had me open the locked Pelican box and I showed her the top gun and told her there was one underneith as well. I asked her if she needed me to show her they were unloaded and if she needed to see the second firearm and she said no. (she seems nervous). She had me sign the Orange tag and I locked up the Pelican case. She placed the tag inside my suite case and then I locked that with the TSA lock. She had me wait maybe 5 min if that and had me escourted over to the are where TSA scans the bags. The person that escorted me was a regular Delta person that was carting over some over sized bags to be scanned (golf bags). Took 5 min if that to walk over to the TSA guys I gave him my bag he asked if it was a hard sided box I said yes. He scanned it again less then a couple of minutes and said everything was ok.
4. When I arrived in MN my bag was with all the other checked bags in the luggage belt. My bag did have a TSA security inspection tape on it but I don't know if they put that on it after the scanned it or later.

Anyways I'm happy to say that I don't think it could of been any easier then that and I'm surprised I was not asked to show both guns were unloaded. I do have to say opening the gun case in the middle of the airport with people standing around and watching was a little weird but no one appeared to be freaked out.

Again thanks to "brickeyee" for answer my questions.
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Old October 5, 2009, 01:48 PM   #15
Al Norris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSmoofy
I had posted some questions and thank you goes to "brickeyee" for answering them. They were on this thread but appear to have been deleted or something.
Not sure what you mean, as there are no deleted posts in this thread. The only edited post was by peetzakilla.

Regardless, glad it all worked out.
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