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Posted: 12/31/2002 2:02:24 PM EDT
In the spirit of the philosophy that there is no question that cannot be answered on ARFCOM, I pose the following.

First off, let me start off by saying I had a lovely chat with a very polite but completely ignorant customer service representative at the airport.

I then called the individual airline who were equally useless.

I then punched up the TSA, who is not only useless, but seems to be going out of its way to be inaccessable. There doesn't seem to be a number that the average idiot (me) can call to get info. There is a complaint number and an emergency number. Everything else is email only.

So the question is:

Now that all checked luggage must be unlocked. How are we supposed to travel with firearms? As you can imagine, our company needs to do this frequently.

Anyone have any insight/info?
Anyone in the industry?

Thanks in advance.

-Z out
Link Posted: 12/31/2002 2:09:59 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/31/2002 2:20:12 PM EDT
Drive. [:D]
Link Posted: 12/31/2002 2:22:19 PM EDT
Thanks Troy.

Man, I just hate leave an pistol case in an unlocked (but ziptied) bag.

They will still want to put a "Firearm Inside" sticker on the outside, right?

So a locked case inside a zip-tied case would be OK?

And I'll still need to show "clear" at the counter. Thereby guaranteeing everyone in a 200 yard radius know we have guns.

AAAAARRGH! This is just damn frustrating.

I feel much safer though.[rolleyes]

Any info appreciated. Thanks.

A frustrated,

Link Posted: 12/31/2002 2:23:10 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/31/2002 2:31:01 PM EDT

Unfortunately. Not an option, not to travel.

We have business: distributors, dealers, agencies, trade shows, etc... all across the country.

We need to be where they are and we need to bring our own toys with us.

Just how it is.
Link Posted: 12/31/2002 2:31:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/31/2002 2:34:43 PM EDT by Graffiti]
I found the answer on the TSA website.
[b]Q: Can I still transport a firearm in checked baggage?

A: Subject to state and local restrictions on transporting firearms, you may still transport a firearm in your checked baggage.  However, you should first check with your airline or travel agent to see if firearms are permitted in checked baggage on the airline you are flying.  Ask about limitations or fees, if any, that apply.  

Firearms carried as checked baggage MUST be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided gun case, and declared to the airline at check-in.   Only you, the passenger, may have the key or combination.  Ammunition may be packed in the same locked container as the firearm, so long as it is not loaded in the firearm.  Small-arms ammunition must also be declared to the air carrier and placed in an appropriate container - securely packed in fiber, wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amount of ammunition.  

In addition, small-arms ammunition must also be declared to the air carrier and placed in an appropriate container: "securely packed in fiber, wood, or metal boxes, or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition."  Ammunition may be packed in the same locked container as the firearm, so long as it is not loaded in the firearm.
Above was quoted from [url]http://www.tsa.dot.gov/public/display?content=658&theme=53[/url]

Link Posted: 12/31/2002 2:38:23 PM EDT
Graffiti -

My most sincere thanks for the info and the link.

Sounds like all is status quo as far as firearms are concerned. The part about the individual airlines concerns me a bit, but I'll keep you all posted.

Thanks again.

Link Posted: 12/31/2002 3:01:44 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/31/2002 3:10:38 PM EDT

Normally, I would not disagree with Troy, but I have to do so here.  I travel/fly at least 3 times a month, and with firearms several times a year, so I hope to offer some insight.  

You still need to put locks on your hardcase. Most airlines mandate it.   If the TSA wants to inspect your hardcase (or any baggage for that matter), they will simply cut the locks.  don't like it?  Don't fly.  The chances of it really happening (cutting your locks) are incredibly low.

It is way better to fly with a locked hardcase in the one-in-a-thousand chance that they will cut the locks than to fly with it zip tied inviting any behind the scenes thief from cutting the tie with a tool and walking home with one of your treasures.  Yes, they can cut a lock too, but there is a big difference between a lock and a zip tie psychologically (a lock is way less inviting than a zip tie).

Hopefully, if they cut the locks on a hardcase and find pistols/rifles they will find you to let you know they did it (I can't guarantee that).
Most airlines only allow two rifles per hardcase and five pistols per hardcase.  Don't ask why, I can't tell you.

One last piece of advice, ship your ammo ahead of time, or buy it at your destination.  A hardcase with only rifles will be way less likely to ever be inspected than one that also includes ammo.

Link Posted: 12/31/2002 3:10:40 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/31/2002 3:20:54 PM EDT

I have never flown an airline that requires the exterior ("Steal Me") sticker.  Most stopped doing that quite a while ago (to many firearms were stolen - of course).  Today, they want you to (usually) sign a form that says the gun is unloaded (which you then need to place inside the hardcase) and ask you a few questions.  Some airline's require their representatives to visually inspect the inside of your hardcase.  

United is the best I have dealt with.  Sign the piece of paper, put it inside of your hardcase and go.  They also ask you if the firearm is loaded and if you have ammo with it (see my earlier post), but that is a requirement.  That is it.  I have heard of horror stories from other people who have had to deal with overzealous airline workers who freak out.  Not much you can do about that, but I would recommend avoiding "discount airlines" if you can afford it, when flying with guns.

Link Posted: 12/31/2002 3:24:38 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/31/2002 6:22:15 PM EDT
Thanks again for all the info. You guys are great.

We fly a bunch of different airlines from cities all over the country. Regs seem to vary according to the whim of the person behind the counter.

We usually carry several handguns in a Pelican case that is (double) locked.

Aimless: You are, of course, correct. The "steal me" stickers can usually be avoided. But, again, sometimes they will insist. Okay...

Ammo is always sourced locally.

The clearing of the weapons thing is also hit or miss. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Usually not flying out of PDX.

King: Great info. Is it OK to send you an IM? I'd like to hear more about your experience on various airlines. We don't have any trips scheduled for a few weeks. These new regs just have me a little spun. May just start shipping pistols ahead.

Best regards,


Link Posted: 12/31/2002 7:18:34 PM EDT
Ship the firearms to your destination.  Then they will be suitably insured against theft.  IIRc, the airlines insure a bag to a maximum of $1200.
Link Posted: 12/31/2002 7:41:49 PM EDT
Crimson_Trace, you should look into buying a share in a fractional jet program.  You would be able to set your own schedual.  You can fly into almost any airport. And you can forget about dealing with the incompetent TSA.  Also, you get to deal with the friendly (General Aviation) side of the airport. It is, however, expensive but if you fly enough it may be worth it.    Ben     The_Emu
Link Posted: 12/31/2002 7:55:59 PM EDT
I flew to Alaska for Thanksgiving and took a Mini-14 and an AK47. When I checked in at DFW the rep. just wanted me to sign a doc saying I know it is a felony to have a loaded weapon in checked baggage. I asked her if she needed to visually verify that the weapons were unloaded and she seemed to act "like that would be a good idea" I opened it and demonstrated to her that the firearms were clear. I honestly think that she would not know which end of the firearm the bullet comes out. But I opened each bolt and showed her they were clear. I signed the doc and she threw it in the rifle case and i locked it back up and away it went. No TSA anywhere in the picture. When I arrived in AK, I went to the claims counter, to which the lady asked me if i was the person looking for a firearm. BTW there were 3 other dudes waiting to pickup checked firearms ( this is AK, remember). Went on to my destination had a great time expending LOTS of ammo. [bounce][bounce] [bounce] [bounce]

When I checked back in for the return flight the lady did not even want to look at them. She said "if they are loaded and go off, by signing this doc, we will know who to look for." Slapped the tag on the bag and said Next.

No problems what so ever. Went smother than I expected. I did take ammo in other checked bags and declared them upon checking in at DFW and they said the did not care about that. To which I repeated myself and said "are you sure you dont have to put a tag on there or something" Nope.... I did not want TSA to x-ray a bag and find a bunch of ammo in there and rip the bag up and me not have my stuff on the other end.( along w/ the ammo[:D] [:D]) I had no problems thankfully, but that was 4 weeks ago so YMMV.

Link Posted: 12/31/2002 9:35:36 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/31/2002 10:02:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/31/2002 10:14:18 PM EDT by USNJoe_Retired]
I saw a report from SeaTac that if you want your luggage locked AFTER the X-ray, bomb sniffer and dog inspections they are providing two colored plastic locks for your luggage, a red one is the one they will put on your luggage after you drop it off, and a blue one if they cut the red one off to inspect inside your bag.

It just dosen't give me a warm and fuzzy to leave my bag open like that with a firearm in it.
At least my homeowners insurance will cover any losses during a flight, firearms included.


Q: Should I lock my luggage?

A: In some cases, the TSA will have to open your baggage as part of the screening process.  If your bag is unlocked, then TSA will simply open the bag and screen the bag.  However, if the bag is locked and TSA needs to open your bag, then locks may have to be broken.  Therefore, TSA suggests that you help prevent the need to break your locks by keeping your bag unlocked.

In the near future, TSA will provide seals at the airport for you to use to secure your luggage as an alternative to locking your bag.  Until that time, you may want to consider purchasing standard cable ties to secure your bags if it has zippers.

What CURRENT federal law says:

[b]Transportation of firearms on aircraft:[/b]
[b]49 CFR part 175[/b]
(e) Firearms in checked baggage. No aircraft operator may knowingly permit any person to transport, nor may a person transport or offer
for transport in checked baggage:
(1) Any loaded firearm(s);
(2) Any unloaded firearm(s) unless--
(i) The passenger declares to the aircraft operator, either orally or in writing before checking the baggage that any firearm carried in the baggage is unloaded;
(ii) The firearm is carried in a hard-sided container;
(iii) The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the person checking the baggage retains the key or combination; and
(iv) The baggage containing the firearm is carried in an area, other than the flightcrew compartment, that is inaccessible to passengers;
(g) Ammunition. This section does not prohibit the carriage of ammunition in checked baggage or in the same container as a firearm.
Title 49 CFR part 175 provides additional requirements governing carriage of ammunition on aircraft.

[b]Ammunition on board aircraft:[/b]
[b]49 CFR part 175[/b]
5) Small-arms ammunition for personal use carried by a crewmember or passenger in his baggage (excluding carry-on baggage) if securely packed in fiber, wood or metal boxes, or other packagings specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. This
paragraph does not apply to persons traveling under the provisions of 49 CFR 1544.219.

[b]Amount of Ammunition that can be carried:[/b]
49 CFR 173.63
(b) Cartridges, small arms, and cartridges power devices.
(1) Cartridges, small arms, and cartridges power devices (which are used to project fastening devices) which have been classed as a Division 1.4S explosive may be reclassed, offered for transportation, and transported
as ORM-D material when packaged in accordance with paragraph (b) (2) of this section; such transportation is excepted from the requirements of subparts E (Labeling) and F (Placarding) of part 172 of this subchapter.
Cartridges, small arms, and cartridges power devices that may be shipped as ORM-D material is limited to:
(i) Ammunition for rifle, pistol or shotgun;
(ii) Ammunition with inert projectiles or blank ammunition;
(iii) Ammunition having no tear gas, incendiary, or detonating explosive projectiles;
(iv) Ammunition not exceeding 12.7 mm (50 caliber or 0.5 inch) for rifle or pistol, cartridges or 8 gauge for shotshells; and
(v) Cartridges, power devices which are used to project fastening devices.
(2) Packaging for cartridges, small arms, and cartridges power devices as ORM-D material must be as follows:
(i) Ammunition must be packed in inside boxes, or in partitions which fit snugly in the outside packaging, or in metal clips;
(ii) Primers must be protected from accidental initiation;
(iii) Inside boxes, partitions or metal clips must be packed in securely-closed strong outside packagings;
(iv) Maximum gross weight is limited to 30 kg (66 pounds) per package; and
(v) Cartridges, power devices which are used to project fastening devices and 22 caliber rim-fire cartridges may be packaged loose in
strong outside packagings.
Link Posted: 12/31/2002 10:17:41 PM EDT
I wonder how they open for inspection the hardcases that have the built-in snap-type key locks, or combination locks, after they leave your hands?
Link Posted: 12/31/2002 11:41:00 PM EDT
If you are talking about the gun case it stays locked.

If you are talking about the luggage you will have to leave it unlocked.
If you had read my post above you would have read: "if the bag is locked and TSA needs to open your bag, then locks may have to be broken".

Originally Posted By Lazyshooter:
I wonder how they open for inspection the hardcases that have the built-in snap-type key locks, or combination locks, after they leave your hands?
View Quote
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 6:21:36 AM EDT
I agree with The_Emu. General Aviation (GA) is the ONLY way to go!

[b][red][i]Libertas an Mortis!![/b][/red][/i]
Link Posted: 1/3/2003 1:04:06 AM EDT
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