Ohare airport and a firearm

This article shows that in 2012 alone, 42 arrests were made by layover passengers. I can get other articles as well


Last year I checked two firearms on Alaskan Air at both the Dillingham and Anchorage airports. The experiences were pretty much the same.


I have travelled countless times with inserted, unloaded mags in my firearms (all handguns) without issue. I’ve never seen that requirement from TSA’s rules/regulations, so if you could point that out I would appreciate it. That said, the only airline that I recall that doesn’t like it is Southwest but they’ve never busted me on it.

As for loaded mags I (and the TSA) agree with you about packing them, but I’ve only found three airlines that specifically allow it IAW the TSA rules. They are Southwest, Alaskan and Frontier.

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Thanks Steven I really appreciate it and I I’m very appreciative of being a member of USCCA and look forward to the training I am receiving and the connection with all of its members like yourself thank you for your response.:+1:

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Thank you Johnny for the reply and welcoming me to the USCCA family, I really appreciate all the training tutorials and being a platinum member of the greatest firearms training institution in the world plus everything else USCCA offers to its members.

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I got an email from Johnnyq60 saying the exact same thing from a comment here. Is Johnnyq60 the site moderator and instructed by USCCA to contact members if they comment? I paid to be here, I thing he has the blessed part backwards. Just want to know. Thanks

Good morning sir I hope all is well. I welcome everyone that joins the family with a god bless you. If I offended you in any way please let me know.

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I am not a moderator but try to help when I can but there are some moderators assigned to the community.

I never recalled sending you an email but am willing to discuss what ever the issue is with you man to man.

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It is unfortunately relatively new, it is also rather difficult to parse out even with the guidelines in front of you.


In order of your response:

  • the magazine in the firearm: (rationale) it is difficult for tsa to determine if the firearm is loaded or not, even with the mag in the firearm. That said I’m attaching the following excerpt from the site provided above. (I’ve no idea how to highlight here so look at the section that has been italicized) As referenced, it’s rather vague and this situation has apparently popped up multiple times that it got addressed. Also, it’s not the airline that will “bust” you for it since it is not their purview, it will be the TSA since this technically falls under the federal regulations.

Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm. Only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock unless TSA personnel request the key to open the firearm container to ensure compliance with TSA regulations. You may use any brand or type of lock to secure your firearm case, including TSA-recognized locks.

  • As to the next point yes, the airlines will allow or disallow such things, I wrote what I said with the caveat that the airline allows the mag to be in the same case as the firearm. In any case, regardless of whether or not it’s allowed I will point you to the official wording below. (Again the emphasis on the italicized section.)

Ammunition may be transported in the same hard-sided, locked case as a firearm if it has been packed as described above. You cannot use firearm magazines or clips for packing ammunition unless they completely enclose the ammunition. Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be boxed or included within a hard-sided, locked case.

Again, your mileage may vary with different airports.

That’s all I got for now, if you have any further questions, either pm me or just reply and I’ll answer if I can.

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Thank you for your reply, Eduardo_Pablo.

I think the only area where we disagree is the part about magazines in firearms. Two things continue to convince me that inserted, empty magazines are not forbidden by the TSA, and are therefore allowed.

  1. From your link: “ Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm.”

The TSA quoted from 49 CFR 1540.5 which you provided as well, “ Loaded firearm means a firearm that has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm.” (Italics mine)

If no live round is in the magazine, chamber or cylinder (magazine for the sake of discussion here), then that part meets the satisfaction of the TSA. An empty magazine inserted into an empty firearm (unchambered) means the firearm is not loaded and is therefore acceptable.

  1. Personal experience, as I had mentioned. I travel with arms often by airline (professional pilot here, BTW, though not an airline pilot). The TSA can tell if your ammunition is not properly packaged, your firearm is loaded or not, if your loaded magazines are not properly protected by their scanning methods. Hell, I believe the declaration cards that the airlines have you sign and place next to your declared firearms have some sort of means of showing up in the scanning as well, evidence that your firearm was indeed declared to the airline. I believe this based on several personal observations through years of experience.

Cylinders do not have to be removed from revolvers. Firearms with fixed magazines do not have to be disassembled. And I say that unless specifically mentioned like in my Southwest example, which does not copy or echo TSA policy or regulation, removable magazines do not have to be removed from the firearm unless they contain live rounds. An empty magazine is just a part of the firearm.

Airlines are permitted to be more strict than the TSA regulations (as noted in examples), but they are not permitted to be less strict.


Fair enough to everything including the bit about the pilot stuff.

The above quote, completely true. It is not required to be disassembled. It is the detachable magazine that is the point of discussion.
The airline being strict, also true.

I just wanted to provide a public wrap up to our discussion on this particular thread. Pm inbound your way though.


Just landed at ohare… anchorage was easy. They inspected firearms and ammo… when arrived at ohare had to present mi id and boarding pass at the baggage office… super easy also… side note I will be moving to alaska in next few years… lol