Utah Guns Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,331 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I travel a lot and took my gun along for the first time this week when my wife and I flew to Kansas City and returned from St. Louis. The process with the airline was very easy and it was nice to have my gun available (except for the day I spent in Illinois, which requires the gun to be locked up).

I read up on Frontier's gun policy and put the unloaded gun in a hard-sided, locked case. Frontier allows magazines and ammo to be in the same case as long as the ammo is in a manufacturer's box. When I checked in at SLC, the lady just asked me if I followed the rules, then placed the red Firearms Declaration tag inside my luggage on the outside of my locked gun case. There was no inspection or hassle. VERY easy. I took my luggage to TSA inspection, where I was asked to wait until it cleared the X-ray machine.

When I checked in at St. Louis, the process was also very easy, but they did inspect to make sure the gun was unloaded and the ammo was in a separate box. The lady knew nothing about guns and I had to explain to her that an empty magazine is not 'an ammo'.

However, three different agents insisted that the firearms declaration go INSIDE the locked gun case. Of course, by doing this, if TSA inspected the luggage, they would have no way of knowing the firearm had been declared unless they cut the lock (or can they see the declaration form with the X-ray machine???) Of course, I did as they said and was happy to find my luggage and gun when I got to SLC.

So, I know the firearms declaration goes on the inside of the luggage (putting it on the outside would almost guarantee it would get stolen), but should it go on the inside or outside of the locked gun case?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
199 Posts
They did the same to me on US Airways. I have no idea why they want it *inside* as it kind of negates the entire declaration thing. Overall, though, I've found it really easy to fly with a firearm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,600 Posts
I don't feel like looking it up right now... but as far as I recall, TSA's policy explicitly states the form should be INSIDE the lugged but OUTSIDE of the gun case... as common-sense would dictate, of course...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
Careful, you may talk me into taking my gun when I fly to Nashville next month. I was hesitant because of any perceived hassle that I may go through to fly with a firearm.

Thanks for the info, I may give packing my gun on working vacation more consideration. Anybody have experiences flying with a gun on American Airlines?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,757 Posts
bane said:
I don't feel like looking it up right now... but as far as I recall, TSA's policy explicitly states the form should be INSIDE the lugged but OUTSIDE of the gun case... as common-sense would dictate, of course...
I've flown Delta, Skywest, Northwest and American Eagle and all of them wanted the tag inside the gun case. No, I have no idea why :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,757 Posts
heavykevy said:
Careful, you may talk me into taking my gun when I fly to Nashville next month. I was hesitant because of any perceived hassle that I may go through to fly with a firearm.

Thanks for the info, I may give packing my gun on working vacation more consideration. Anybody have experiences flying with a gun on American Airlines?
Don't hesitate. It's really not a problem.

I find it's actually kind of interesting, because you often get to see parts of the airports you wouldn't normally see, and talk to people working there. I've had some nice chats with TSA guys while they processed my weapon and bag.

Some things you should do, though:
  • 1. Check the policies of the specific airline(s) you're flying. They sometimes differ a little from the basic TSA policies. For example, many of them require any ammunition to be in the manufacturer's container, though the TSA policy would allow ammo in magazines as long as the ends of the magazines are covered. Next time I fly I'm going to try leaving my carry ammo in mags, in closeable magazine pouches, but take along an empty box to transfer it to if they complain.

    2. Have your gun unloaded and prepared before you get to the terminal. I unload it in the car in the parking lot. You might even want to lock the slide back on a pistol, just to make it easy for everyone to verify that it's cleared. Note that they may or may not actually check it.

    3. Place your gun case in an easily-accessible area of your bag. You'll have to take it out and put it back in. Maybe twice.

    4. Allow about 30 minutes extra for your check-in process. It won't normally take more than two or three minutes to sign the form, walk your bag over to TSA and let them do their thing, but you may run into a counter agent that doesn't know what to do, or maybe no one will be available to walk you over to TSA, or maybe the TSA agent will be on break or something. Worst I've had is a 15-minute wait. If you actually follow the silly "arrive two hours before your flight" suggestion they give you, you'll be just fine. I normally don't get there until about 45 minutes prior (I fly enough I get to use the short security line), so I have to consciously add some time for the gun stuff.

    5. Usually, after you put your signed declaration in the gun case, they'll walk you over to a TSA inspection point. But not always. On my American Eagle flight, they just took my checked bag at the counter, like any other bag. If you go to the TSA inspection point, they may or may not search your bag and may or may not inspect your gun. Just go with the flow.

    6. Finally, before you go, learn the laws related to carry and use of force at your destination. States that honor your Utah CFP still apply their own rules about where and how carry is legally permitted. Also, in case you needed to use your gun, the rules about when you're justified may differ.
It's really not a problem. The process is generally very smooth, and about the only "hassle" you're going to get from the people is if they're very busy already they might be irritated that processing you takes a little longer than everyone else. That's not the norm, though. Mostly they're very professional about it and some are quite friendly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
Excellent info - thanks Swillden!! :crown:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,331 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes, excellent post swillden!

I've done a bit more researching, but still can't find a definitive answer on whether the declaration form goes inside or outside the locked gun case. Maybe it doesn't matter?

In addition to what you have posted:

- It is against TSA's (and most airline) policies for agents and employees to touch or handle your firearms. They are to request airport law enforcement to handle any firearm. In short, don't let them touch it. In fact, there is no requirement at all for the airline to physically inspect the case. Some airlines might, but the X-ray process by TSA is what determines the status of the firearm.

- My gun case didn't facilitate keeping the slide locked open, so I used a cable style gun lock through the action and magazine well to make it easy to tell the gun was empty (and to add an added level of frustration in case it was stolen).

- Don't put the gun case on top of other metal items as this might require a physical inspection to determine that the gun is unloaded.

- What swillden noted about magazines is correct - you can keep ammo in them according to TSAs rules, but most airline rules do not allow this. You must follow the airline rules, even if they go beyond the TSA requirements.

For me, it took no more than an extra two or three minutes to go through the process and I'm likely to carry now - at least when I don't travel to victim disarmament zones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,757 Posts
apollosmith said:
It is against TSA's (and most airline) policies for agents and employees to touch or handle your firearms. They are to request airport law enforcement to handle any firearm. In short, don't let them touch it. In fact, there is no requirement at all for the airline to physically inspect the case. Some airlines might, but the X-ray process by TSA is what determines the status of the firearm.
Interesting. Several -- both airline and TSA -- have touched mine. None have actually picked it up, but they have lifted the grip to look down the well.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,616 Posts
Here is the TSA link: Traveling with Special Items - Firearms & Ammunition

That has changed since I last looked. I can't see anywhere in that list where it says where to put the red tag. I just put it where they tell me to, which is almost always inside the gun case.

Here're a couple of suggestions:
  • Print out that TSA page and keep it with your gun case, in case you need to show them what the actual TSA requirements are. Not usually needed, but could come in handy.[/*]
  • Print out the page from the airline web site for the same purpose[/*]

I frequently travel with my gun & ammo. I find that the process is not very consistent between airports and even from one time to another at SLC airport. It depends on the luck of the draw, meaning who you deal with that day.

Another tip is to research the gun laws at your destination, printing them out to take with you. I always do that so that I can not only refer to them to refresh my memory, but also to have them to show to an authority if the need arises.

The whole process is a lot simpler than you might think. I do it a lot!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,055 Posts
I work for one of the airlines in SLC. What we are told to do is to have the costumer sign the red form and put it inside the gun case. While the case is open look for loose ammo. Next, we ask the customer to show us that the gun is not loaded. We have the costumer lock the case. Then the agent needs to walk to the x-ray machine with the costumer and inform TSA about about the fire arm. Last but not least the costumer waits until TSA clears the fire arm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,600 Posts
swilden,

That's interesting. I just flew with Delta this past December and they had me put the tag on the OUTSIDE of the gun case... odd that TSA doesn't seem to provide a guideline...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,331 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think part of the problem may arise in the fact that sometimes the locked gun case IS the luggage - particularly for rifle cases. As such, they can't put it on the outside, so it must go inside. Perhaps this is why there is no specific guidance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,757 Posts
bane said:
That's interesting. I just flew with Delta this past December and they had me put the tag on the OUTSIDE of the gun case... odd that TSA doesn't seem to provide a guideline...
The way I do it (small hardback book-sized gun case in my roller bag), the tag wouldn't stay with the gun case if it weren't inside. As things shifted around, they'd certainly get separated. I don't know if that matters, but unless they're going to tape it to the gun case, I can see that as a good reason to put the tag inside. Well, except for the fact that once the tag is inside no one without the key can see it :)

Unless maybe the tag isn't ordinary paper, and has some property that shows up on X-ray? Dunno.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,528 Posts
I have traveled many times with various weapons (pistol, rifle, both, M4, M9) both domestically and internationally.
- Each time the agent asked me to show an empty chamber.
- Any time I had loaded magazines I was asked to unload them; on one occasion I was paged to the gate and an airport police officer and confronted for having just one loose 9mm round in my weapons cleaning kit.
- The declarations tag was always inside the gun case.
- I have never had a problem with the original Kimber gun case that came with the pistol. My original rifle case was a cheap Wal-Mart case and I never had a problem with it, however, I soon purchased a Pelican case and have always had to unlock it for visual inspection by TSA; either TSA always wanted to see my cool toys or Pelican puts something in their plastic that impairs x-rays. I just schedule some extra time and wait outside security until my gun case has cleared.
- I reload and always travel with ammo in hard plastic cases of 100 rounds for pistol ammo and these have always been fine. I have seen somewhere a limit of 11 pounds of ammo but have carried up to 400 rounds of .45 ACP without the issue ever coming up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
572 Posts
You can travel with loaded magazines as long as they are "fully enclosed". Here's a photo of an "open" mag pouch that would NOT be o.k. to transport ammunition.


Here's a photo of an "enclosed" mag pouch that IS o.k. to transport magazines loaded with ammo.


I usually travel with the ammo in either the original packaging or plastic "reload" boxes. I take an empty reload box just in case TSA insists that I unload my magazines. In some cases the airline ticket agent insisted that I put my ammo in the reload boxes.

The tag should go INSIDE the gun case. We used to call the tags the "steal me" tags because it indicated that there was a firearm in the baggage. Contrary to popular belief, if the tag is laid flat in the gun case and the case goes through the machine flat, the TSA person monitoring the screening station CAN see the tag in the gun case.

gf
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,757 Posts
glock fan said:
You can travel with loaded magazines as long as they are "fully enclosed".
Per TSA policy, yes. Many airlines have policies that don't allow ammunition in magazines. However, all bag searches are done by TSA personnel, and their job is to enforce TSA policy, not airline policy. So it seems to me that if you comply with TSA policy, and just don't show any airline policy violations to the airline agent, you should be fine.

I think it's a good idea to take along an ammo box that does comply with airline policy, just in case. That way if they do somehow see your loaded magazines and tell you they can't accept your bag because of it, you can transfer the ammunition from the magazine to the compliant container.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,323 Posts
glock fan said:
You can travel with loaded magazines as long as they are "fully enclosed". Here's a photo of an "open" mag pouch that would NOT be o.k. to transport ammunition.


Here's a photo of an "enclosed" mag pouch that IS o.k. to transport magazines loaded with ammo.


I usually travel with the ammo in either the original packaging or plastic "reload" boxes. I take an empty reload box just in case TSA insists that I unload my magazines. In some cases the airline ticket agent insisted that I put my ammo in the reload boxes.

The tag should go INSIDE the gun case. We used to call the tags the "steal me" tags because it indicated that there was a firearm in the baggage. Contrary to popular belief, if the tag is laid flat in the gun case and the case goes through the machine flat, the TSA person monitoring the screening station CAN see the tag in the gun case.

gf
The truth is that both pictures of magazines are good to go.

"Can I pack my ammunition in a clip or a speed loader?
No. You may not use magazines/clips for packing ammunition unless they completely and securely enclose the ammunition (e.g., by securely covering the exposed portions of the magazine with a metal, plastic or cardboard sleeve)"

http://safetravel.dot.gov/index_ammunition.html

Tarzan
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top