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Posted: 2/13/2006 9:04:06 PM EDT
OK, so I'm going to fly to Providence, RI in May and will be driving home to Texas with my son in his 05 Jeep Wrangler. Driving cross country I want to be armed so I figured I would take a couple of pistols along. Reading the Southwest airlines website it states the following:

Firearms must be encased in a hard-sided, LOCKED container that is of sufficient strength to withstand normal handling, as follows:
A firearm in a hard-sided, locked container may be placed inside a soft-sided, unlocked suitcase.
A firearm placed inside a hard-sided, locked suitcase does not have to be encased in a container manufactured for the transportation of firearms.
Only the Customer checking the luggage should retain the key or combination to the lock. No exceptions will be made.


So is a hard-side, locked container the case the pistol orginally came in or would an aftermarket case be better? Who has flown with a pistol and what did you use?

Also for ammo it states:

Small arms ammunition for personal use (provided it is properly packed) is permissible in checked baggage only.
The ammunition may be placed in the same container as the firearm and must be securely packed in cardboard (fiber), wood, or metal boxes, or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
When checking ammunition, Customers are limited to 11 pounds gross weight (ammunition plus container) per person.
Magazines or clips containing ammunition must be securely packaged (placed in another small box or in a secure cutout in the carrying case, in order to protect the primer of the ammunition).

So does that mean it can be transported in it's original box or must I obtain something stronger? I am taking a 9mm and .40cal, you think 5 mags for each is enough?
Link Posted: 2/13/2006 9:21:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/13/2006 9:26:21 PM EDT by VT4meGunCtrlisAntiUS]
I've flown a few times with checked handguns. I would find out what the laws are in R.I. concerning unlicensed weapons possesion (I've flown to NH and VT no problems, the rest of NE can vary greatly). You'll need a gun case which is FAA approved, no problem finding those. Make sure the weapon is unloaded (duh?!) and locked in it's case. Declare the weapon upon arrival to the ticket issuer, he/ she will verify that it is unloaded, check the case and you go to your gate. Most airlines let you take 10- 20 lbs of ammo (packed separately) along with your other baggage.

I sure as hell wouldn't try doing this out of Logan or LaGuardia!

The last time I flew out of VT with my 686 and my Springfield 1911, the baggage check guy commented quite enthusiastically about the S&W, he had the same one- but mine was much better maintained according to him.

Best of luck.

--VT

ETA: I think that most airlines require that ammo is in it's original packaging.
Link Posted: 2/13/2006 9:32:43 PM EDT
What he said, but keep it under 11 pounds of ammo. Buy it when you get on the ground if you feel you need more. Pay attention to the part about checking laws at your destination. I flew with my HK in the factory box no problem.
Check the TSA website and carry printouts with you if you feel nervous about the reception at the airport. The Airline will have its own regs, check those too.

I wouldn't worry though. As long as you follow the rules its just checking baggage with a little extra paperwork.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 6:59:22 AM EDT
San Francisco to Denver, about three weeks after 9/11 with a sidearm. I didn't have a problem, though I didn't have ammunition either.

NTM
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:07:20 AM EDT
dukota:

I've flown with handguns a couple of times.... There is no problem... Check with your air carrier...

I have used a factory "issue" gun case, with a padlock on the outside. While not required, I have also placed a cable type lock on the pistol inside the case. Remember that the people who check this gun are likely somewhat nervous. Err on the side of caution. I have simply kept ammo in the factory cardboard box.

When you get to the checkout counter expect some delay. Politely and courteously inform the coutner person that you are checking a bag, and that there is a firearm within the bag. There will be a few moments delay while they confer. Someone will ask you to step aside, and will likely ask you to open the bag and the case to verify the pistol is unloaded and secure.

Smile. Be courteous. Be polite. Have a nice flight....

DO NOT attempt to bring ANYTHING gun related in carry on baggage....
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:10:48 AM EDT
I usually take two lockable handgun cases. One for the gun(s), one for the ammo. I've put the boxes of ammo in the second case. This isn't strictly required, but what's $6 for another box to avoid having a discussion with someone who doesn't understand their own rules? Also, all magazines should be completely unloaded as well. The goal is to not give these people a reason to be worried.

I always go to the desk to check in and declare the firearm(s). Something along the lines of giving them your papers and saying "I also need to declare a firearm in my checked bag" is sufficient. Don't forget this step, it's the difference between more paperwork and serious criminal charges. When they have someone look at your stuff, they may ask you to unlock the case so they can inspect it. Just do the bare minimum they say and ask if you have any questions. They may get nervous if you try to open the case for them.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:30:37 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:31:31 AM EDT
I'll agree with everyone above, its not that big of a hassle flying with a pistol though I have changed to an old army duffel instead of a suitcase. My pistol case just is to big for the suitcase and I can get a good lock on the duffle.

They will hand search the bag almost every time though I've never had them ask to open the pistol case. Then lock the outer bag.

Only had one jackass (TSA naturally) give me a hard time (in Wyoming no less) about locking the duffel fortunately the baggage/fuel handler was nearby ragging on him the whole time while I tried to keep a straight face.

Well the screeners in Columbus OH wouldn't let me look at the bag going though the xray as they all crowded around to look and point, unfriendly bastards!
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:38:17 AM EDT
I've had handguns in my luggage on more than one occasion. I used a lockable case, put the proper stickers on it denoting there's a gun inside, put my name and address all over it, then put it inside another peice of luggage. I'd declare it when I checked in and asked that it remain in the larger piece of luggage. I've never had that request refused, but I have had the checker stick another "Firearm Inside" sticker on the larger piece. The idea is to keep the markings as low key as possible so some baggage handler doesn't walk off with it. I also never carried ammo with me anywhere in the luggage, and I made that known to them too. Despite all the horror stories I'd heard, I never lost a gun and never had a hassle from the airlines about it. I also traveled via Southwest Airlines too whenever possible.

I haven't taken a gun in my luggage since well before 9/11, so the rules may have changed since I've done it.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:39:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/14/2006 7:40:19 AM EDT by kissfan]
One of these



And one of these



All from http://www.mtmcase-gard.com/
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:39:47 AM EDT
It's not that tough, just an extra step to jump over..
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:01:40 AM EDT
yeah i do it all the time, but from NH to AZ. Does anyone remember that thread about some guy who flew from his home state to New York, then tried to catch his return flight back home later?

When he tried to check in at LaGuardia or wherever, the ticket agent called PD to verify the gun was unloaded (rumored to be the policy there??) and he got jammed up because obviously he was from out-of-state and did not have NY Pistol permit, etc. etc.

It doesn't make sense to me because a reasonable person can see the guy is catching a flight home and is making the declaration, but can you still get in trouble statewise if you're at an airport?

What about a mid-air diversion because of weather, that has you landing in NJ or DC with a handgun, having to spend the night at a hotel and recheck in the next day. What happens when you show up with your gun and try to check in for your flight, because you planned on a flight from one free state to another, but it's not your fault you get stuck in a Republik???

Anyone know?
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:07:39 AM EDT
I have had no problem with it.

Just follow the regs as posted.

Be sure to print them out and, bring them along for the possible ass-head at the
counter.

I checked my pistol and, AR together in the same case.

All I had to do was show the rifle was unloaded, and, the pistol too.

I walked the girl in Austin through it, becasue she looked bweildered as to where the bullets might go in the AR. She even let me check 15 pounds of ammo.

The guy in Cali was pretty cool too, and, had obviously handed weapons before.

Just make sure your hard cases are FAA approved, and, you have locks for them.

I think locking, hard sided luggage is ok per Southwest, but I wouldn't do it.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:10:02 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/14/2006 10:29:16 AM EDT by wildearp]
I do it all the time and just did on several flights/airlines in the past few weeks.

I put the gun in the smallest possible hard case with a padlock. Only you can have the key to this. I put the case inside a softside standard rollaround Samsonite and put a lock on it. This is a TSA approved tamper-evident lock. That keeps everybody honest. If they search my bag, I know it as soon as I get it.

You must declare your firearm and they give you a tag to put inside the case that contains the firearm. I keep all the old tags, and there are about 20 of them in there. I think it would be hard to prove any criminal intent if I forgot to declare it one day and the tags were present. Some airlines make their gate agents check to be sure it is unloaded. This puts all blame on them if it somehow becomes loaded after it leaves you. This will be on camera in most cases. I got pulled away from the boarding gate to come open my case one day in Texas. There were a couple neckties and a TSA agent present, and since the gate agent had checked my gun, there would have been some recourse if it had magically become loaded in my absence.

The ammo can be inside the same bag as the firearm, however, not inside the same container as the firearm. The ammo must be inside the OEM case, or one like it. I often use a plastic reloader's case for my ammo. They never look at the ammo, but they always ask.

Some airlines/TSA make you wait until your bag clears x-ray. If they want to check the gun, you hand them the key, they inspect with you present, and then re-lock.

And, this is exactly the way the law/TSA regs say it is supposed to be done.

Rarely, you will have a gate agent that is completely unfamiliar with the regs, or has their own interpretation of the rules. Remain calm and cool and ask for a supervisor if necessary. Usually they will just ask a more experienced agent what they need to do. It makes the day go faster.

I carry the .pdf file of the TSA regs on my laptop, just in case.......

TSA Linky 1

[TSA Linky 2
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:10:21 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JI603:
It doesn't make sense to me because a reasonable person can see the guy is catching a flight home and is making the declaration, but can you still get in trouble statewise if you're at an airport?



http://www.nraila.org/GunLaws/FederalGunLaws.aspx?ID=59
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:18:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JI603:
yeah i do it all the time, but from NH to AZ. Does anyone remember that thread about some guy who flew from his home state to New York, then tried to catch his return flight back home later?

When he tried to check in at LaGuardia or wherever, the ticket agent called PD to verify the gun was unloaded (rumored to be the policy there??) and he got jammed up because obviously he was from out-of-state and did not have NY Pistol permit, etc. etc.

It doesn't make sense to me because a reasonable person can see the guy is catching a flight home and is making the declaration, but can you still get in trouble statewise if you're at an airport?

What about a mid-air diversion because of weather, that has you landing in NJ or DC with a handgun, having to spend the night at a hotel and recheck in the next day. What happens when you show up with your gun and try to check in for your flight, because you planned on a flight from one free state to another, but it's not your fault you get stuck in a Republik???

Anyone know?



This was in a recent NRA magazine. He was acquitted/let off and his gun returned. I am sure a lawyer got a few Porshe payments from him.......
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:22:49 AM EDT
i flew with my glock in the original locked case. Also i found it depends on what airport u fly out of. Coming out of orlando they had me about convinced i was a terrorist but out of Dallas they acted like it was weird if yah didnt fly out without a gun. lol. As long as the gun is locked and ammo is seperate u should be gtg.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:29:19 AM EDT
looks like it's covered but i just wanted to say i don't have any problems when I use Pelican brand cases. i put the pistol in one case, ammo in it's original container in another. Mags, holsters and tac gear will go loose inside a big duffle bag along with both hard cases.. the Pelican cases get pad locks. i have tried it other ways and once an over excited TSA screener "finished" checking a pistol case and put it out of the way on the conveyer and it went out of sight before I could get her to stop it and put the pad locks on the case. They had to stop the line and wait while she hunted it down, brought it back so “I” could lock it. I like TSA. They make for great stories…

let me tell you how my elk hunt went… first I was checking in my gun to fly up to Idaho and the TSA…
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:30:21 AM EDT
Very easy just give yourself a little extra time, I did it from AZ to Shitcago IL. I flew SW, I declared it they opened and inspected it. They then gave it to the TSA guy I followed him to where he dropped to off to be loaded. Funny thing when I landed in cook county I was breaking the law, until I drove out of the county.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:40:09 AM EDT

It looks like you aleady know what you need to know.

One tip I learned is to bring a print out of the TSA and airline regulations so that you can show people at the counter if there is an question about the rules. It's not a fool proof strategy, but it can be used to negotiate 9 out of 10 fools.

Listen for your name while at the airport. I once bought an HK 93 clone in AZ and threw it in a case with some ammo in plastic bags. The counter lady thought it was fine, but the handler guys deep in the bowels of the airport x-rayed it again and freaked out. They called me name out and I had to go give them my keys to unlock the case so they could dispose of the ammo.

I brought mine to SF from GA without incident.



Link Posted: 2/14/2006 9:54:22 PM EDT
Thanks to all for the great replies and stories.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:57:30 PM EDT
Flew from texas to hawaii with two handguns in a pelican case, which was locked and inside my suitcase. The security guard came by, had me lock the slides open to show an empty chamber, checked under the foam for anything not declared, then watched me lock the case and zip up my suicase. That was all it took, he filled out two tags also.
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