So, you want to fly with your gun.
Well, have fun, because it can be a bit of a hassle. It wasn’t always this way, before 9/11 it was quite a bit easier to fly with a gun. Now, things are a bit more complicated. It doesn’t mean you can’t fly with a gun.
It’s just a royal P..T.A.
That’s because the TSA has created a tiresome and demeaning process for travelers who wish to travel with a gun.
Getting your gun to your final destination is a somewhat frustrating process to be sure.
We’re going to help simplify it so if you decide to travel with your weapon you’re set up for success.
6 Things You’ll Want For Traveling With a Gun
1 – Get A Lockable Hard Case For Your Weapon
If you’re going to travel with a gun you must travel with a locking hard case per federal law. That’s because the government requires that you be the only one capable of accessing the box.
Here’s the official code:
Title 49: Transportation, Part 1540 – Civil Aviation Security: General Rules, Subpart B – Responsibilities of Passengers and Other Individuals and Persons, 1540.111 (c) (iv) – The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the passenger retains the key or combination.
Title 49: Transportation, Part 1544 – Aircraft Operator Security: Air Carriers and Commercial Operators, Subpart C – Operations, 1544.203 (f) (iii) The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the individual checking the baggage retains the key or combination;
2 – Be Sure to See TSA’s Updated Travel Policies
Just because you traveled with a gun in the pat doesn’t mean traveling with one in the future is going to be the same. The TSA is constantly updating their travel policies so it’s important that you make sure you’re complying with their most recent updates.
If you’re not you might arrive at the airport to find that the way you traveled last time is not going to jive with their new policies. Not only will this frustrate you, it could lead to a delay in your travel plans.
Also, get there 30 minutes earlier than you’d normally arrive. Checking your gun isn’t a speedy process, so you’ll want to add in some mandatory wait time.
3 – Store Your Gun Correctly
Gun laws vary all across the country. In many places in America, it’s illegal to travel with a loaded weapon.
And in every airport, it’s illegal to try and travel with a loaded weapon. That’s why you’ll want to make sure you store your gun correctly before you travel with it. The way to store your gun is to unload it (no round in the chamber and no magazine in the weapon).
The gun can be stored in the same case as the magazine, they just can’t be inserted. If you do this, then there won’t be any issues when you check your gun.
4 – Do Not Use Curbside Check-In
If you’re used to using curbside check-in then you’ll want to avoid using it when you’re traveling with a gun, no matter how convenient it looks to be.
It turns out the curbside check-in employees are not affiliated with the airline and cannot help you properly (and legally) check your weapon.
5- Stay Calm When Checking Your Gun
Travelling is already a stressful enough occasion, there’s no need to make it any more complicated by adding tension to the weapon declaration process.
To make the process as smooth as possible act as you would normally while checking bags. At the ticket counter calmly tell the ticketing agent you’ve got a firearm to declare.
That’s all you have to say. The ticket agent will hand you a card and from there all you’ve got to do is take that card over to the secondary firearm check-in.
Once you’ve arrived at the secondary check-in zone do your best to follow all directions given by TSA and be compliant, courteous and calm.
The TSA wants you to take responsibility for your firearm, and they need you to be there until the final check-in is complete. So don’t just drop your bag and leave, instead, wait there with the key to your case.
6 -Expect The Unexpected
The TSA and airports differ from city to city on how they enforce some things. Sometimes there is no method to their madness. You might be cleared lickity-split, or you might have to stick around while the TSA searches every part of your bag.
Make sure all your ammo is contained in the bag that you’re declaring. And most importantly, don’t try to pack your gun at the airport. It will feel weird to not have it on your hip, but that’s the cost of getting to point A to point B with it.