Have you ever flown with a firearm?

With the Expo quickly approaching and having to fly to Pittsburgh, I was wondering how many have flown with their firearm?

What tips do you have for someone flying with a firearm?

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I’ve flown with guns. What I did was went to the airlines web sight and look at their regulations for taking firearms on them. I also printed it out and took it with me to airport. I did this in case the person at the ticket counter didn’t know what to do. And they didn’t. So I showed them. Then no problems. When you take firearms you have to go to ticket counter and declare that you have a firearm. Fill out a form that goes in where you have the firearm. Then either they take you to the TSA baggage check or you go there on you own. And TSA checks the bag and sends it on. Then when you get to where you’re going you have to may be go to where they have lost bags. Because of the firearm in the baggage.

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I flown with guns quite often. Experiences seem to be dictated by what airport you are at.

Flying out of Philadelphia, never an issue.
Newark, as much of a hassle as they could possibly make it within the law.
Boston, the agent actually pulled a rifle out of the case instead of just checking the tag and proceeded to drop it on the floor.
San Francisco an agent told me my ammo had to be in the original factory box and had me throw it in the trashcan if I wished to fly

Anchorage and Bozeman I had a very nice conversation about firearms with agents in those locations.

YMMV

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My mother flew with her handgun. I gave her a pelican case for it with a couple of locks that was put in her checked luggage, unloaded of course…

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Welcome, @DAVID13! Sounds like you’ve had a huge variety of experiences!

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Negative on that, my fiance Michele hates flying!

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I have and it can be a real pain especially if you have connecting flights through DC or NYC.

If at all possible when flying through either city make absolutely sure your firearms are checked through from flight to flight so you never have to take possession of them because if you do you can end up in serious legal jeopardy.

Know the legal and procedural requirements and follow them to the letter when dealing with the TSA.

USCCA and US Lawsheild are both great resources to rely on.

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I have flown many times with firearms.
Tips:
Read the airlines and TSA restrictions and instructions well before you are ready to leave. Pack your unloaded weapon and empty magazines in a locked, hard case container such as a Pelican or similar. Boxed ammo can usually be packed in the same case but make sure the airline allows it. The case should be locked with a real padlock, not a TSA lock and YOU are the only one with the key. Your case can go in your suitcase or be checked on its own, although, it will stand out when its spinning around the baggage carousel.

Give yourself extra time to check in. You will be required open the case for the airline staff. They will not touch it but want to see it is securely packed. You will have to complete a firearms declaration that will go in the bag that the firearm is packed. (If they suggest putting the declaration on the outside ask them if they really want that on the outside as the bag is in baggage claim for EVERYONE to see - This has happened to me only once in well over 20 years.) I have always been asked to wait near where the bag has been checked in for 10-15 minutes while the bag is being screened just in case TSA wants to look in it. I have never had anyone come to get me. If they do, do not give them your key, go with them and unlock the case for them yourself.

When you arrive at your destination pick your bags as usual. I always open the bag with the firearm just to make sure the cases is still there and is locked. (Trust but verify). DO NOT take your gun out while you are in a secured area in the airport. You may have the opportunity to retrieve your weapon from the case and strap it on but make sure it is legal for you to do so before you arrive at your destination.

When it’s time to go to your next destination or home, repeat all of the above.

You can prevent all of the above if you just drive! But it has it’s own issues depending on the states you pass through.

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Have you ever been rerouted or had issues with needing to land in a state where you don’t have reciprocity, @MikeBKY?

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@Dawn I have not had any issues, But I also have the advantage of having some protection under LEOSA for qualified retired law enforcement officers. It is, in effect, a nationwide permit.

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The LEOSA does help, @MikeBKY. I’ve heard horror stories about planes being rerouted to NY/NJ because of weather and people who traveled with their firearms being arrested for having a gun in NY/NJ when they weren’t legal to do that.

It’s a scary situation for a law abiding citizen to get stuck in. Here’s just one example:

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/traveling-mans-gun-arrest-appealed-to-supreme-court

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I’ve been rerouted or stuck passing through NY and DC.

Best advice I can give you is to never take possession of your firearms in either, just have the airlines directly forward them to the appropriate carrier.

If for some reason you must do so on your own, get a TSA or Local LEO to carry them for you from where they are picked up to where they have to be checked onto the new carrier.

I would probably do the same in NJ if I found myself landing there.

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I was following that story closely as it was happening. It is scary that you never know what might happen when you fly. I typically drive from Louisville to the Philly area just because I prefer not to give up control of my life to the airlines. And it didn’t help that I found out that I was on the No Fly List in 05 after I was told by the airline employee at the ticket counter when she laughed about it after I showed he my law enforcement credentials when checking in. I was able to get a TSA Redress number about a year after i filed the necessary paperwork. I still have no idea how I got on the list. I only knew that I was often asked to step aside for additional scrutiny as i went through security. And it seemed that i had recently been to the range every time I was swabbed for nitrates and came up positive leading to more scrutiny.

I would always be careful where your flights are being routed when flying and avoid CA, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, OR RI and WA.

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I never even thought about being swabbed at the airport! I’ll have to make sure I never go to the range before heading to the airport - which I have done in the past. Had some time to kill, so I spent some time at the range, dropped my firearms at home (traveling to NYC) and grabbed my bags. I totally would have shown up for nitrates even after washing my hands - it would have been all over my clothing… :woman_facepalming:

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It happened almost every time I flew. Instead of showing up an hour early I had to show up 2 hours early. And the crazy part was i didn’t know why. The only explanation is that someone had a name similar to mine.
I started driving because the time it took to fly with getting to the airport early and connecting flights, the 10 hour drive wasn’t much longer that the flying time from door to door. And I could leave when I wanted and control the ride but for traffic jams.

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