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Old August 19, 2012, 03:57 AM   #1
wayneinFL
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TSA- firearms definition?

Does the TSA use the same firearm definition as BATFE?

I just ordered a couple of conversion kits for my Sig P250.

If the TSA uses the same definition as ATF- that the firearm is the frame, then only the frame has to be in the locked hard-sided container. Everything else is just parts and could be located elsewhere in the checked baggage.

But if they define the firearm as the frame and parts, I have to use a bigger case, and get everything locked in there.

Has anyone here flown with firearm parts, outside a locked container, in checked baggage?
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Old August 19, 2012, 05:35 AM   #2
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"Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies."

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...rial_1666.shtm
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Old August 19, 2012, 07:19 AM   #3
Ichiban
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Quote:
A Florida teenager says her designer purse got her in trouble with the Transportation Security Administration and caused her to miss a flight from Norfolk to Jacksonville.

Vanessa Gibbs, 17, says it was an image of a gun on her purse that caught the TSA's attention
http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/p...rfolk/578354/1


What was your question again?
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Old August 19, 2012, 10:38 AM   #4
wayneinFL
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Quote:
What was your question again?
Okay, my question again is:

Does the TSA use the same firearm definition as BATFE? And has anyone here flown with firearm parts, outside a locked container, in checked baggage?

I've flown with firearms at least a dozen times this year. I am well aware that firearms, firearms parts, replicas of firearms, ammunition, or a GI Joe guy with a firearm aren't allowed in carry on. That's pretty clear in the regulations, and on their website.
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Old August 19, 2012, 11:40 AM   #5
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Since the TSA is not inspecting every piece of luggage that goes into a baggage hold I don't think you will have a problem BUT you need to be aware of and follow the airline regs since their insurance carriers often have requirements in addition to the TSA regs (and all of the air carriers are different). Bottom line, the airline carrier has the final say on what may be loaded on THEIR aircraft. If they lose the bag and later find it and inspect it and you have violated any regs (TSA or carrier or municpal codes like NYC has) then you will have a problem. They may cancel your ticket or they may call local law enforcement. If it were me I would treat any gun parts the same as a complete gun and declare it to the airline before you check it. Violation can be 10 years/$10,000. Don't take any chances and don't place too much credence on what any airline counter person tells you over the phone or at the airport, most of them are completely clueless when it comes to their own company rules. It is always a good idea to go to their website and print and carry a copy of their rules with you at all times during the trip. Another thing that would concern me are local municipal laws at ANY at any location you may have to divert to because of weather or aircraft problems. People have been arrested simply because they ended up in a city they had no plans to visit because of extreme weather problems. Check everything and don't assume anything. It is a veritable minefield out there.

Last edited by drail; August 19, 2012 at 11:47 AM.
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Old August 19, 2012, 11:56 AM   #6
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Are you kidding? The TSA freaks out at a picture of a toy gun on a notepad.

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Old August 19, 2012, 12:00 PM   #7
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This is true. Some of the airline counter people will look as though they're about to pass out if you tell them you want to declare a firearm. "Is that a real gun? Is it loaded? Is it going to just go off by itself?" And some will assume you are an LEO and hand you the wrong paperwork. I've seen both kinds. The TSA will generally give you the full treatment if you just have a Guns and Ammo magazine on you or are wearing a Springfield Armory T shirt. I have not flown for many years now because of all this stupidity. I don't need to get anywhere that fast.
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Old August 19, 2012, 12:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
This is true. Some of the airline counter people will look as though they're about to pass out if you tell them you want to declare a firearm. "Is that a real gun? Is it loaded? Is it going to just go off by itself?" And some will assume you are an LEO and hand you the wrong paperwork. I've seen both kinds. The TSA will generally give you the full treatment if you just have a Guns and Ammo magazine on you or are wearing a Springfield Armory T shirt. I have not flown for many years now because of all this stupidity. I don't need to get anywhere that fast.
I haven't had a problem with the counter people in years. I don't know if my attitude has changed or they've just become accustomed to people flying with handguns.

And I am vehemently opposed to a lot of the stupidity that goes along with the TSA, but unless I find a new job, I have to fly.

I laughed out loud at the T-shirt comment. I grabbed a gray t-shirt in a rush to make a flight a few months ago. After going through the backscatter x-ray machine, they stopped me and patted down my back. I later realized it was a Florida State Championship t-shirt with a picture of a race gun on the back.

Quote:
If it were me I would treat any gun parts the same as a complete gun and declare it to the airline before you check it.
To clarify, I would still declare the firearm.
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Old August 19, 2012, 01:35 PM   #9
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The TSA threw away my wife's mouthguard. She is filing a claim for the replacement cost.

The simple fact is that TSA screeners are inclined toward considering everything a danger. Maybe that is good, but I don't think I would try to play "it isn't a gun" games with them. Why take a chance on losing your property by trying to score off a screener and show off your knowledge of the law?

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Old August 19, 2012, 02:00 PM   #10
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I fly with my guns regularly and have never had any issues

I recommend packing it as a complete firearm when you check your bags.
TSA will deal with it then, and you can't be accused of trying to smuggle gun parts on board. Take advantage of the extra bag, and pack some ammo and whatever else you can within the 50# limit.

When I fly I always pack at least 2 pistols and ammo with my checked baggage. I've never been given a funny look, or had any comments of surprise by the ticketing agents. I fly cross country 3-4 times a year and I'm treated with respect all the time. TSA has been courteous and respectful. I know I'm going to get special treatment because of the guns, so I'm already prepared for it. I've flown out of Detroit, Grand Rapids MI, Saginaw, Indy, Chicago, Seattle, Spokane, and Phoenix without any problem.

I guess it's how you approach the situation to begin with. If you're relaxed and courteous, you'll usually get the same response from the baggage agent and the TSA agent. When checking in, be prepared to spend an extra 15 minutes for checking your gun(s), and be prepared in advance to have answers to their questions. Baggage agents deal with guns in luggage all day long, every day. It's nothing new to them. If they seem surprised about a gun in the luggage they're either new, or intentionally attempting to get you flustered from the get go.
I will not fly any of my guns thru NY or NJ airports. It's asking for trouble with somebody from outside the area. I've not yet figured out how to go thru them with my guns, without the risk of being arrested and having my guns confiscated.

I guess you could ship them to yourself thru the Postal Service, UPS or FedEx

NO issues, no worries.

Regards,
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Old August 19, 2012, 02:21 PM   #11
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I'm not an expert, but I think only an FFL can use the mail to send a pistol to another FFL. You can't mail a pistol to yourself legally.
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Old August 19, 2012, 10:48 PM   #12
wayneinFL
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Yeah, can't mail a handgun, but I could mail the conversion kits. Already checking two bags, so a third isn't an option. Besides, dragging 4 bags through the airport every 3 weeks is a PITA.

Still wondering if TSA uses the same definition the ATF does. I'll probably have to wait to get an answer back from them.

You know, this would be a whole lot simpler if they just let me carry the thing on the plane.
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Old August 19, 2012, 10:59 PM   #13
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TSA doesn't use actual definitions for anything. If you're able to know what is allowed and what isn't, the terr'rists win.
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Old August 19, 2012, 11:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Gearchecker;.................... I've flown out of Detroit, Grand Rapids MI, Saginaw, Indy, Chicago, Seattle, Spokane, and Phoenix without any problem.
I just had my worst experience while departing Phoenix the 7th of Aug. I brought my luggage to the airline check in counter, declared my weapons and ammo, filled out and signed the paperwork, re locked my gun case and luggage and then was told to remove my luggage from the scale and wait for a TSA person. I moved my luggage off to the side and waited 15 or 20 minutes for the TSA person. When the TSA person arrived I was told to get my luggage and was directed to follow another agent(a female). I was brought to a side room and told to place my luggage on a table and to step back. The agent unlocked my suitcase an removed every item, unfolded and rummaged thru ever shirt, pants, opened every medicine bottle, and inspected the lining of the suitcase. Then she said, you can repack your suitcase. I inquired as to why I was singled out and her reply was "You checked a weapon". The whole process took about an hour.
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Old August 20, 2012, 12:34 AM   #15
wayneinFL
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At least you had the opportunity to fold all the clothes and repack. Nothing like getting into your hotel at 1AM for an 8AM meeting and finding out you have to iron everything.
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Old August 20, 2012, 01:29 AM   #16
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Heaven help the 1911 fan who is sporting a tatoo on his arm. He'll probably have to travel in a locked case in baggage.

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Old August 20, 2012, 08:31 AM   #17
Jim Watson
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The TSA does not use BATF book definitions.
They are on the lookout for anything the least bit out of the ordinary and playing word games with them over gun parts is not smart. They have a lot of authority, and no responsibility or accountability. Showing travelers who is in charge is their real job.
Lock up your gun and conversions and do not draw any more attention than you can help if you want to get where you are going on time.
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Old August 20, 2012, 12:19 PM   #18
Chuckusaret
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I have been flying with a handgun since 1987 and this was the first major encounter I have experienced with a carrier or the TSA. I also failed to mention that it cost me an additional $50 because my wife's checked luggage was 5.5 lbs overweight.
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Old August 20, 2012, 01:16 PM   #19
wayneinFL
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They are on the lookout for anything the least bit out of the ordinary and playing word games with them over gun parts is not smart. They have a lot of authority, and no responsibility or accountability. Showing travelers who is in charge is their real job.
Lock up your gun and conversions and do not draw any more attention than you can help if you want to get where you are going on time.
It's true that they don't have a lot of oversight. But the attitude, "showing travelers who is in charge"? I really haven't seen much of that attitude from any of them. I've only had to repack/recheck bags twice. Once the TSA guy didn't know the regs, and I didn't have a copy with me- he was a nice guy about it, and I was too, and just tossed $5 of ammo. The other was when I unpacked my laptop at the security checkpoint and found a loaded Beretta mag- that guy had a little bit of an attitude, but considering the circumstances, he was actually pretty easy.

As far as drawing attention goes, I'm always traveling one way, so I get all the attention possible to begin with. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I haven't found a TSA letter in one of my bags when I got to my destination.
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Old August 20, 2012, 01:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
As far as drawing attention goes, I'm always traveling one way, so I get all the attention possible to begin with. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I haven't found a TSA letter in one of my bags when I got to my destination.
Get a hard-sided suitcase (like a Pelican case) and a cheap POS gun or receiver, and pack the gun in your suitcase *without* a case -- and non-TSA padlock the whole thing. Declare the gun when you check your bag and lock it at the counter and TSA is prohibited by law from opening it.

(of course if illegally they break into it anyway, there's no accountability; that's why you use a junk gun.)
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Old August 20, 2012, 01:33 PM   #21
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Can we try to focus on the question:
Quote:
Originally Posted by wayneinFL
...if they define the firearm as the frame and parts, I have to use a bigger case, and get everything locked in there.

Has anyone here flown with firearm parts, outside a locked container, in checked baggage?
Can anyone answer the actual question the OP is asking?
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Old August 20, 2012, 07:21 PM   #22
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No, Frank, I haven't done it and won't do it because it falls under the heading of picking a fight with city hall.

I am glad the minions of the petty tyrants have been nice to wayneinfl but that does not change the approach of the parent organization.
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Old August 20, 2012, 07:38 PM   #23
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Having worked for TSA, I can tell you the official (technically correct) answer, which is that barrels/slides/parts are not firearms and do not need to be declared.

You'll notice in TSAs official guidelines:
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1666.shtm
That they specifically differentiate between firearms and firearms parts but do not specify exactly any difference in handling.

In my mind, the implication is clear that parts are not firearms and do not need to be declared. Specific instructions are included for ammunition and magazines but not other parts.

What I can't tell you is how any given airport/officer/FSD will "interpret" the rules. Interpretation of unspecified regulations is the problem. Common sense is RARELY the first standard.

The most obvious thing in my mind would be to simply mail the thing. Inexpensive, easy and avoids problems.

Second most obvious and very likely to not be problematic, would be to simply tell the ticket agent that your bag includes a few firearms parts but NOT firearms. Let them deal it. If they think you should declare it, declare it. Have a lockable case ready per rules for a firearm.

The odds of a problem are small but would be rather inconvenient and worst case, expensive, on the off chance that you get sucked into a real nightmare.

Me, I'd mail it.

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; August 20, 2012 at 07:45 PM.
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Old August 20, 2012, 08:23 PM   #24
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I have no personal experience with traveling with gun parts either. But it lloks like we're not getting a whole lot of information.

If I understand you correctly, you'll be traveling with both the pistol and the conversion units. In your situation, I think I'd want to eliminate all doubt and avoid any possible hassle. So I'd just get the bigger case and pack the conversion units with the pistol and go through the usual drill.
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Old August 21, 2012, 10:21 AM   #25
wayneinFL
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Thanks for the replies. I have some good information there, and I think I know what I'll do.
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