Flying Commercial with my Pistol

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Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by guy1138 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:15 pm

Hey all, I figured there was sombody here who has done this recently and can help me out. It's not something I want to mess up. I'm flying out this weekend for an extended trip and I'd like to take my pistol with me. I've looked up the TSA guidelines here: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/ ... _1666.shtm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; However, I still have some unanswered questions:

I have a "hard plastic" case, not unlike this one here: http://www.gunclips.net/sipihaca.html

It's like ABS plastic, not the really tough Pelican case plastic. It has clasps for two padlocks on it, and sliding fasteners. When the padlocks are on it, the sliders can't move and the box can't open.

Now, can I fly with mine, or does it need integrated locks? Is the plastic hard enough? Can I declare the pistol, then put the case *IN* my regular (soft sided) luggage?

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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by tilt » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:26 pm

Your best bet is to call the ticket counter at the airport your two points of departure (specifically NOT the 1-800 airline number). Ask them what is good locally. It should be standard across the board, but the TSA is kind of the lowest common denominator and tends to make up a whole mess of rules as they go along. After you get confimation from the ticket desk, call the local TSA office (at each end) and tell them you plan on flying with a pistol and ask about procedure. Take the information that everyone gave you and combine it to cover all your bases.

This is why I hate to fly and would rather drive.
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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by Lenny » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:33 pm

guy1138 wrote:Hey all, I figured there was sombody here who has done this recently and can help me out. It's not something I want to mess up. I'm flying out this weekend for an extended trip and I'd like to take my pistol with me. I've looked up the TSA guidelines here: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/ ... _1666.shtm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; However, I still have some unanswered questions:

I have a "hard plastic" case, not unlike this one here: http://www.gunclips.net/sipihaca.html

It's like ABS plastic, not the really tough Pelican case plastic. It has clasps for two padlocks on it, and sliding fasteners. When the padlocks are on it, the sliders can't move and the box can't open.

Now, can I fly with mine, or does it need integrated locks? Is the plastic hard enough? Can I declare the pistol, then put the case *IN* my regular (soft sided) luggage?
Check the laws of where you are going. In New York you may fly in with your locked luggage but if you don't have the right paperwork you won't be leaving with it. Yes, if you are going to lock your luggage bag afterwards, you must have a TSA supervisor verify why so they do not cut off your locks. Also ammo MUST be in a ORGINAL box. NOT rolling around in a ziplock bag. I have flown out of Oakland, CA airport 10 or more times and I always took my pistol with me.
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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by guy1138 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:46 pm

tilt wrote:This is why I hate to fly and would rather drive.
No doubt, but I'm going from Oahu to Arizona, so the drive is a bit tough :-)
Lenny wrote:Check the laws of where you are going.
Since I'm goingt o Arizona, I should be good, it's the gun laws here in Hawaii that are strict, but since handguns aren't "outlawed" there should be no problem.

I've read up on the New York/New Jersey thing. Cops there are arresting people in the airports when they're declaring their pistols, since pistols are illegal w/o permit in that jurisdiction. It's only a problem for people who have flights cancelled and have to overnight. When they come back the next day, they're arrested for possessing a pistol in the jurisdiction, even though it's legal at the destination and departure points. Federal law (Firearm Owners Protection Act) actually allows for the transport of pistols "through" a jurisdiction where they're banned if the traveler is enroute to somewhere where the pistols are legal. However, the departments aren't up to speed on it. I've only heard of it in NY/NJ, but I'm suprised that it hasn't been an issue in DC or Chicago.

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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by Coyotes Brother » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:01 pm

Repost from http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 37&start=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I've flown with my EDC pistol from VA to VT. The TSA folks were nice and professional checking in and checking out. You should have a "FFA approved" container. I didn't, and Jet Blue provided a metal carrying case at my request, right at the airport. IIRC, it cost me $35. Pretty nice case, actually.

The TSA guy told me the ammo had to be stowed separately. Since I was only taking 2 mags worth, I just tossed them into my other piece of luggage and he was fine with it.

I got caught in a bad weather/missed connecting flight scenario in New York. I was just going to get a rental car and drive the 4 hours to my destination instead of waiting until the next morning, but the baggage folks saw the "firearm" tag on the case and refused to release it to me. They told me that they *could* hand it over, but that they'd also have to notify the police, and that I'd be arrested before I could make it from the terminal to the rental car place. I negotiated for the better part of an hour, tried declaring "innocent passage" and "interrupted journey" but they wouldn't hear it. Wound up spending the night in the airport...

My advice, look into the laws of the states where you're making connecting flights, if any.
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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by twohands » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:09 pm

Your airline may have guidelines - IIRC Southwest did. I flew mine a BUNCH last year; my case was not Pelican grade plastic and just had a small integral lock - it was fine. Make DAMN SURE that its empty. I had a chamber flag in mine. The ticketing counter gives a small form and you place that inside the case before you lock it up. I then placed my case in some extra room in my check bag, so nosy people would see the small case and think "hmm...valuable."

The nice lady @ the southwest counter commented on my Kimber "Thats a lot like mine". :D
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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by Mr. Warren Peace » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:24 pm

i've flew to arizona with 2 pistols and had no problems. if you followed the tsa and airlines rules you should be okay:

hard case
handgun locks
unloaded handguns with open bolt for easy inspection
empty mags
ammo stored in original box
locked bag

plan to check in early, and REPORT, "I AM DECLARING A FIREARM" during your check in process. if you have done everything listed above, it will be an easy process. have your baggage key ready, and EXPECT to be delayed because my bag was inspected manually by a tsa and an airline representative. i was present during the inspection, which took about 10 minutes. they return everything into my bag, added an inspection tag around the hardcase, and replaced all locks (hardcase and check in bag), and gave me my keys, and wish me a nice flight. once my flight landed, i picked up my bag from the pick up area, and fried like hell in the heat of phoenix.

on my return flight to nc, i followed the same rules, but without a full detail inspection of my bag. i declared my firearms, she checked and tagged them, and sent me on my way.

good luck!
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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by guy1138 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:17 pm

Coyotes Brother wrote:Repost from http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 37&start=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
DAMN! I swear I searched the forums for the terms "flying" & "firearm". After 4 pages of threads about firearms and ammo flying off the shelves at gunshows, in emergencies, etc., I figured it was safe to post a new topic. Violated my own pet peeve.

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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by Hoppy » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:26 pm

Also ammo MUST be in a ORGINAL box.
ammo has to be in A ammo box. plastic, cardboard, original, it doesnt matter.


Any ammunition transported must be securely packed in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/ ... _1666.shtm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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).
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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by thefirebuilds » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:00 pm

guy1138 wrote:
tilt wrote:This is why I hate to fly and would rather drive.
Chicago.

it is. Most FFL I know around here wont stop to take a piss in Chicago.
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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by durden10 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:02 pm

What about rifles? Is there any difference?
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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by nimdabew » Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:28 am

durden, are you kidding? If it was an EBR and someone pulled that out in the middle of an airport, you would probably get shot. OTOH its probably the same thing. I am sure people ship all of their worldly possesions and then fly to their new place when they move all the time.
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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by durden10 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:35 pm

I never said it was a good idea, just wondering about the legality of such a maneuver. That being said, it sure would take some pretty big balls to walk into an airport with AK or two in tow.
Доверяй, но проверяй - Trust, but verify.

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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by Dietrich » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:45 pm

Earlier this month I flew from Tampa to Seattle with a shotgun and a rifle that I had just unexpectedly inherited. I had to buy a big wheeled hard case from a sports store, and bought a couple of little luggage padlocks from one of the airport stores. No problems.
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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by 2now » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:13 am

I must have a big set then. When moving across the county in 2006 I checked in with 10 firearms, including two AR s and mucho handguns. It did delay my boarding a little, but otherwise no problem.

I’ve only flown without a gun once or maybe twice in the last 20 years. I do it in part as a political statement.

Say “I need a firearms check tag” None can mis hear that as a threat. Works every time.
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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by Sogoronin » Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:32 am

I've flown a few times with my firearm. I've transported prisoners across and out of the country. I've got a pelican case with two TSA approved locks. Just as everyone else stated, sign in early, declare it and fill out a form if they ask. They will check it, make sure the ammo is seperate, and tag it. I placed mine in my regular luggage, which is also pelican, and tossed it on the plane. I've only had problems one time, when I flew from Charleston SC to NY. I was transporting, so I was armed. I got on the plane, no problems. Turned the prisoner over to the local PD as soon as I got off the plane and turned right around to get back on the next plane returning in two hours. I carried my case with me, because I assumed correctly, that I wouldn't be allowed to carry back. What I didn't expect was that I was allowed to put my pistol in my luggage, the TSA lady and her supervisor wouldn't allow me to carry my ammo. They gave me some bull about explosive danger on the plane, yada, yada. They said that I would have to fedex my empty mags back to myself, and throw away my ammo. I was a little upset, since: 1. I've never heard of any thing of the sort, and 2. My ammo is expensive and I've got like 40 rounds of it on me. I've never had to deal with this before. So I packed my pistol up, locked it in a wall locker, caught a tram to the city, to find a fed ex and fedexed my loaded mags back to myself. Fed Ex didn't know, or care, and TSA was happy. I know I probably broke a law or a fed ex policy by sending my ammo back to myself, but I'm not going to just throw ammo away. Got back to SC, and complained to the TSA people here.

My buddy that works in the TSA office here said that really there wasn't anything to be done about it, and to drive on.

I've been told that the case that was issued with the pistol is TSA approved, but I wasn't too sure, so I bought the Pelican. I've been happy with it, and it's tacticool.

Good Luck.
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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by Squidi » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:35 pm

2now wrote:Say “I need a firearms check tag” None can mis hear that as a threat. Works every time.
That's awesome and the kind of thing you don't think about in advance. Instead of walking up to the check in lady, "I've got a gun! I mean, umm, I have a gun for you! Well not for you, but for those TSA guys!.. err just arrest me now"

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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by Hoppy » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:17 pm

Squidi wrote:
2now wrote:Say “I need a firearms check tag” None can mis hear that as a threat. Works every time.
That's awesome and the kind of thing you don't think about in advance. Instead of walking up to the check in lady, "I've got a gun! I mean, umm, I have a gun for you! Well not for you, but for those TSA guys!.. err just arrest me now"

we went to florida pretty much right after flights resumed post 911. we roll up to the airport. they have the national guard guys out, the state police, all looking ready to invade Poland . the cop asks us to pop the trunk and sure enough, my father had packed his fishing poles in his "Bazooka" brand case.

so we have this large black tube labled "BAZOOKA" :cry: luckily the cop wasnt that gullible, kinda gave us a "good luck walking round with that" and we went into the passenger drop off area.

just for the reference
Ready to invade Poland http://tinyurl.com/d8xkde" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bazooka case http://tinyurl.com/bprdf9" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Ya, they gave him an MP5sd http://tinyurl.com/aozoss" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by ToddGray » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:27 pm

Coyotes Brother wrote:Repost from http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 37&start=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I've flown with my EDC pistol from VA to VT. The TSA folks were nice and professional checking in and checking out. You should have a "FFA approved" container. I didn't, and Jet Blue provided a metal carrying case at my request, right at the airport. IIRC, it cost me $35. Pretty nice case, actually.

The TSA guy told me the ammo had to be stowed separately. Since I was only taking 2 mags worth, I just tossed them into my other piece of luggage and he was fine with it.

I got caught in a bad weather/missed connecting flight scenario in New York. I was just going to get a rental car and drive the 4 hours to my destination instead of waiting until the next morning, but the baggage folks saw the "firearm" tag on the case and refused to release it to me. They told me that they *could* hand it over, but that they'd also have to notify the police, and that I'd be arrested before I could make it from the terminal to the rental car place. I negotiated for the better part of an hour, tried declaring "innocent passage" and "interrupted journey" but they wouldn't hear it. Wound up spending the night in the airport...

My advice, look into the laws of the states where you're making connecting flights, if any.
Man, that's a load of bullshit right there... I was just looking for the Federal Insterstate Firearms Transportation Guidelines and... BAM! I got shot down when I saw that NY state (let alone NYC) forbids transporting handguns without a NY license.

*Marks NY as another NOGO ever state*

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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by SkyGod » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:02 pm

Ok, I am posting what I know from a lot of experience. But go to the official FAA website page and read the rules for yourself.

TSA can not and as I understand "shall not" place any tag on the outside of your bag indicating that it contains a firearm. The 2 tags you fill out go inside the gun case and the bag to show you declared it and it was inspected.

The container has to be locked AFTER it is inspected and once locked you must not be able to pry it open with just your fingers and touch any part of the gun. This means it has to be at lease a hard plastic case. Not a soft plastic case like the old Glocks came in. Unloaded mags go in the case with the gun.

The ammo goes in its own case. I use one of those dedicated hard plastic kind that can be locked, though it is not required to be locked.

At the airport I go directly to the oversize bag check place. This is usually where you take your bag with the firearm to be searched and inspected. Nice thing is they most often take the rest of my bags meaning I don't have to stand in a long line (SCORE!)

My suitcase has built in locks. TSA locks the case once they inspect it and hands you the key.

Your most useful tool in dealing with the TSA is proper attitude. If they start giving me grief over my case or bag, I simply produce a copy of the applicable rules from the FAA website. The rules are straight forward and that usually does the trick. If not, I ask to speak to their supervisor. Respectful confidence usually win out in these situations. Yes, I am former law enforcement, and have little tolerance for those enforcing the rules not knowing the rules.

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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by Coyotes Brother » Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:09 am

ToddGray wrote:Man, that's a load of bullshit right there... I was just looking for the Federal Insterstate Firearms Transportation Guidelines and... BAM! I got shot down when I saw that NY state (let alone NYC) forbids transporting handguns without a NY license.

*Marks NY as another NOGO ever state*
I'd ask a lawyer to be 100%, but I'm pretty sure the federal law trumps the NY law. So long as it's legal for you to have the handgun in your home state and it's legal for you to have it in your destination, you can haul it through New York. Just don't spend the night there.
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Re: Flying Commercial with my Pistol

Post by Kommander » Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:28 am

Coyotes Brother wrote:
ToddGray wrote:Man, that's a load of bullshit right there... I was just looking for the Federal Insterstate Firearms Transportation Guidelines and... BAM! I got shot down when I saw that NY state (let alone NYC) forbids transporting handguns without a NY license.

*Marks NY as another NOGO ever state*
I'd ask a lawyer to be 100%, but I'm pretty sure the federal law trumps the NY law. So long as it's legal for you to have the handgun in your home state and it's legal for you to have it in your destination, you can haul it through New York. Just don't spend the night there.
Your are theoretically correct. However NY, particularly NYC, stopped giving a damn about any laws but their own some time ago. There have been several instances where people have had their flights unexpected diverted to NY and were arrested when they tried to check their gun for their flight out of the state.
Why must all the hoops be on fire?

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