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Old 09-04-2017, 10:10 PM
The Big D The Big D is offline
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Default Gun in checked bag...'new' info.

New to me, at least.

Traveled from Baltimore (BWI) to Austin, Texas (AUS) to watch the mighty University of Maryland Terrapins footballers deliver a proper beat down to the Texas Longhorns.

Mission accomplished!

That said, traveled via United Airlines. Check in without incident at BWI. Orange tag signed and placed in suitcase. Bag immediately to the conveyor and off to the TSA baggage check area; agent asked me to wait 10 minutes. No word from TSA meant I was good to go..and off I went. BTW, TSA Pre Check is truly worth the price if you travel with any degree of regularity.

No issues upon arrival and baggage claim in Austin. Very quick delivery, too.

Of late UA does not permit online check in if the first portion of a trip involved a checked gun. That was true this trip. UA personnel at AUS were very efficient. No issue with declaring a checked weapon. Signed the orange tag but was told NOT to place it in the suitcase. Rather, I was directed to carry the suitcase and the tag to the TSA baggage inspection area that was adjacent to the UA counter. Agent there opened the suitcase, swabbed it for explosives, and told me to place the tag in the suitcase...outside the gun case.

Done!

No issues, as is usually the situation.

At the risk of opening the proverbial 'can of worms' anew, I must note the suitcase is a Samsonite hard sided with built in TSA combination locks. The gun case is a Doskocil secured by a TSA combination lock.

Zero issues with using TSA locks which I have always used whilst toting a gun in my checked bag. That encompasses scores of trips and includes airports from coast to coast in at least twenty (20!) states and the District of Columbia.

Hope this is useful info.

Be safe.
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:12 PM
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Your gun locked case is NOT to have TSA locks on it - only YOU are to possess the key or combination.
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:24 PM
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TSA locks are a joke. I would never trust my firearm to one (or two). I'd also not use a combination lock, but that's just personal preference

This might be a UA thing, or a TSA Austin thing.

If you're traveling with a gun case inside a suitcase, the card goes on the outside of the gun case. If you're traveling with a stand alone gun case, the card goes inside.

At least that's how it's supposed to be, but I've learned that despite having one set of rules nationwide (on paper), there is a lot of airport to airport variation with the TSA.

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Your gun locked case is NOT to have TSA locks on it - only YOU are to possess the key or combination.
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:32 PM
The Big D The Big D is offline
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Default Here we go...

In multiple previous threads I have referenced this. In my dealings with TSA and Homeland Security personnel in my working days, all indicated TSA locks were, indeed, permissible.

I have carried a gun in a checked bag for more than fifteen (15) years with scores, if not hundreds, of trips. (I traveled regularly/officially in my LEO days. Then I typically checked my gun instead of onboard carry.)

TSA personnel have inspected my carry in more than twenty (20!) states and many more airports. There has NEVER been an issue(s) or a denial of carry/travel.

What more can I say?

Be safe.

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Your gun locked case is NOT to have TSA locks on it - only YOU are to possess the key or combination.
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Old 09-04-2017, 11:03 PM
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New to me on my trip last week: Before they released my checked bag at my final destination, they zip tied the bag.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:03 AM
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There is nothing at all new in anything that the OP wrote except UA's desire to not permit online check in if the passenger checked a firearm on the first leg of the trip. Everything else takes place regularly at different airports.

dgk777's note is new - they zip tied the bag before they let you take it from the airport???!!! What was that supposed to accomplish, exactly?

I bet I know. After the idiot who took his properly checked bag to a restroom after retrieving it from the baggage delivery, then loaded it and shot some people, they must figure that you cannot open a zip tie because you can't possibly have an edged weapon on you so you have to leave the airport without being able to open the suitcase.

Inane to say the least but I understand the mentality.
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Old 09-05-2017, 03:20 AM
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Earlier this year my case was zip tied for the first time. Traveling from Detroit to Vegas on Delta. Waited for ages at the carousel waiting for my case to show up but it didn't. Went to the lost luggage office and there it was all zip tied up. Asked for a pair of scissors to cut the ties off and they almost had a fit. YOU DON'T OPEN THAT CASE IN THIS AIRPORT! Settle down lady, I'm going.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:59 AM
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Whether it's required by TSA policy/procedure or not, I wouldn't use a TSA lock to secure the gun case itself. Last time I flew with a gun the suitcase had a TSA lock but the gun case inside was secured with a non-TSA lock. I also used a cable lock to secure the gun case to the suitcase's frame.

FYI, this was a week or two after the FL airport shooting. I had to pick up my suitcase at the lost luggage office, but it wasn't zip-tied or otherwise secured beyond the locks I put on it. I flew Delta.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:44 AM
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I haven't had any of my luggage zip tied, either.

Like you, I don't use TSA locks, I use good quality Master Locks, and like you, I have the gun case cable tied to the frame of the suit case. I figure the harder it is for a potential thief to steal something, the more likely it is they'll move on to another suitcase.

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Whether it's required by TSA policy/procedure or not, I wouldn't use a TSA lock to secure the gun case itself. Last time I flew with a gun the suitcase had a TSA lock but the gun case inside was secured with a non-TSA lock. I also used a cable lock to secure the gun case to the suitcase's frame.

FYI, this was a week or two after the FL airport shooting. I had to pick up my suitcase at the lost luggage office, but it wasn't zip-tied or otherwise secured beyond the locks I put on it. I flew Delta.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:33 PM
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I was a cop assigned to Denver Int'l Airport for almost 17 years. I was a trainer for several of those years, so I was privy to rules changes, etc. I can tell you there is no uniformity between airlines or airports when it comes to checked-in firearms. None. Some want to see it. Some don't. Some tape the tag on the gun box. Some put it in the gun box. And so on.
TSA does things according to the environment they're given. In other words, if their equipment is stashed behind closed doors not in a public area, your bag goes but you don't. If it's across the way from the ticket counter behind a screen, then you might go with it. Their rules are flexible enough that they can fit what they do almost anywhere. And really, what lock you put on your gun box is up to you. Never heard of any rule except you had to keep the key with you and not put it in the same bag as he gun.

Last edited by GerSan69; 09-05-2017 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 09-06-2017, 04:56 PM
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I've pretty much stopped flying anywhere for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the confusing TSA rules about guns. I don't like to go anywhere unarmed so that means lots of time behind the wheel of my sedan.
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Old 09-06-2017, 05:22 PM
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Default TSA Rules and Regulations

There is "One TSA Rule Book" to govern airline travel. Ever literate TSA employee or supervisor has their own interpretation. The TSA employees that can't read English follow there Supervisor's instructions.

I have encountered 3 different rule interpretations in one day at 3 different airports.
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Old 09-06-2017, 05:38 PM
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Interestingly, I can tell by the remarks that many of y'all are using soft sided luggage with zippers. Then you are putting hard, lockable gun cases inside those bags. Further, I am aware of this practice for years after the first time a friend of mine did it and showed me. I was astonished. It is, in my opinion, a misunderstanding of the FOPA rules.

The TSA publishes the following, in coordination with the rules established by the FOPA:

Quote:
You may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only. Declare the firearm and/or ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter. The container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be easily opened are not permitted.
Quote:
•Declare each firearm each time you present it for transport as checked baggage. Ask your airline about limitations or fees that may apply.
Quote:
•Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. 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.
Quote:
•Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.
Official website of the Department of Homeland Security
If there is a copyright it belongs to DHS but I think their on line publications are public domain.

I admit I was unaware of that last rule so I posted it just FYI.

The important term is this:

You may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only

Apparently, the traveling public, and the airlines, have come to the conclusion that soft sided, zipper closed baggage that has a locked, hard sided gun case inside complies with the above stated rule. I assure you that from a technical standpoint, from a legal standpoint, that interpretation is incorrect. Then there is this:

Locked cases that can be easily opened are not permitted.


If someone can explain to me how soft sided, zippered luggage is NOT easily opened I would be obliged to hear that explanation.

When I travel with a gun it either goes into its own locking, hard sided suitcase or it goes into hard sided, lockable luggage. Locked by keys and combinations, Anything else is, technically, wrong and, worse, anything else is VERY vulnerable. I would rather check a hard sided Samsonite-type lockable briefcase with a gun inside of it than the fanciest zipper closed luggage, even if it is hard sided. I mean the kind where the lock is built right into the case's edge using various methods, locked by keys or combinations or both. Anything less is, well, less!

No luggage locks are super secure but all zippered luggage is easily opened. And resealed. I would never carry anything such a suitcase if it was of any value. That's not to say I don't use such cases but I don't pack anything in them that I cannot easily replace and certainly never a gun.
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Old 09-06-2017, 05:40 PM
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And every one of them told you, "All the other airports do it wrong, we're the only ones that do it right!"

At least that's the story I've heard.

It's as GerSan69 said in his post. There is some, sometimes wide, variation between airports. I think that a good deal of that is because the layout is different at every airport. None of them were built with the TSA in mind, although during upgrades that might be taken into consideration.

I will say that it helps when dealing with the TSA and airline employees to be polite. Honey, vinegar, all that. I've managed to get free hotels and meal vouchers when it probably wasn't required because I was smiling, commiserating with the airline personnel about how hard it can be to deal with the public, and kept the volume and tone of my voice friendly. It works even better if they guy in front of you was loud and obnoxious.

In 2012 I had a very tense situation with US Air and the TSA at DFW involving my checked firearms. The airline was wrong, but tried to blame me. The US Air manager was extremely rude, so I was extra cooperative with the TSA officers. By the time we were done, the issue had been resolved and the TSA officers were laughing at the US Air manager.

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Originally Posted by Engineer1911 View Post
There is "One TSA Rule Book" to govern airline travel. Ever literate TSA employee or supervisor has their own interpretation. The TSA employees that can't read English follow there Supervisor's instructions.

I have encountered 3 different rule interpretations in one day at 3 different airports.
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Old 09-06-2017, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engineer1911 View Post
There is "One TSA Rule Book" to govern airline travel. Ever literate TSA employee or supervisor has their own interpretation. The TSA employees that can't read English follow there Supervisor's instructions.

I have encountered 3 different rule interpretations in one day at 3 different airports.
THAT IS THE TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!!! Twice I have traveled with hard sided lockable luggage with guns inside and the airline people thought I was doing it wrong because I didn't have a case inside the case. Talk about misunderstanding the rules!


Thus my post immediately above.
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Old 09-06-2017, 05:56 PM
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Your understanding of the TSA regulations is incorrect. The gun itself must be in a hard case and checked. There is nothing in the regulations that says that the hard case can not be inside a soft case.

I've never had one TSA or airline employee tell me that I can't have a locked hard case inside soft suitcase. I've stood next to the TSA while they inspected the case (which is in fact a violation of their rules) and the only thing anyone ever said to me was "Nice gun, how's it shoot."

Do as you will, since it doesn't affect me, but it doesn't help to spread bad information.


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Originally Posted by ISCS Yoda View Post
Interestingly, I can tell by the remarks that many of y'all are using soft sided luggage with zippers. Then you are putting hard, lockable gun cases inside those bags. Further, I am aware of this practice for years after the first time a friend of mine did it and showed me. I was astonished. It is, in my opinion, a misunderstanding of the FOPA rules.
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Old 09-06-2017, 05:59 PM
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It would have to be a dire family emergency before I were to fly anywhere. If I took a firearm, it would be one I could afford to lose, as I do not trust anyone. Especially airline personnel, as there are many reported stolen by them.
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Old 09-06-2017, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryS View Post
Your understanding of the TSA regulations is incorrect. The gun itself must be in a hard case and checked. There is nothing in the regulations that says that the hard case can not be inside a soft case.

I've never had one TSA or airline employee tell me that I can't have a locked hard case inside soft suitcase. I've stood next to the TSA while they inspected the case (which is in fact a violation of their rules) and the only thing anyone ever said to me was "Nice gun, how's it shoot."

Do as you will, since it doesn't affect me, but it doesn't help to spread bad information.
Also, if his interpretation of the TSA rules were correct, then the major airlines would be recommending people to violate the law since the ones I've checked all say that as long as the gun itself is in a locked, hard-sided case, it can be placed inside a soft-sided suitcase.
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Old 09-06-2017, 06:22 PM
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Somehow I've managed to travel to a few dozen states without taking a gun with me and still alive to talk about it.

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Old 09-06-2017, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GerSan69 View Post
Never heard of any rule except you had to keep the key with you and not put it in the same bag as the gun.
Transporting Firearms and Ammunition | Transportation Security Administration.

"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."

If you use a TSA lock you are technically violating this rule, or so I have been told. If they want the key to check your container it is supposed to be done in your presence.

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Old 09-06-2017, 07:09 PM
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Personal choice.

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Somehow I've managed to travel to a few dozen states without taking a gun with me and still alive to talk about it.
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Old 09-06-2017, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Big D View Post
In multiple previous threads I have referenced this. In my dealings with TSA and Homeland Security personnel in my working days, all indicated TSA locks were, indeed, permissible.

I have carried a gun in a checked bag for more than fifteen (15) years with scores, if not hundreds, of trips. (I traveled regularly/officially in my LEO days. Then I typically checked my gun instead of onboard carry.)

TSA personnel have inspected my carry in more than twenty (20!) states and many more airports. There has NEVER been an issue(s) or a denial of carry/travel.

What more can I say?

Be safe.
Same experience here. Never an issue with TSA.

OP's experience was the same as mine with United in Nashville. Ticket taker wouldnt allow me to carry my ammo in magazines, it had to be in factory ammo boxes or the plastic ammo boxes, which is what the rules say. It was my fault. I found the first ticket taker/TSA that actually enforced it. Ahhh, it was so nice having the LEO exemption and carrying onboard.

FYI: TSA lock on suitcase, personal lock of choice on gun case.

Last edited by Dr.Lou; 09-07-2017 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:12 AM
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Oy.
Engineer: "One TSA Rulebook" - Uh, sorta. You'd be surprised. Yes, the TSA strives to do things the same way everywhere, but there is a lot of the overall operation that is left to the airlines and local airport management. Consequently there are variations.

ISCS: double Oy. FOPA??? Wha??? As for the "soft-side" vs. "hard-side" debate, there isn't an issue. No one requires hard-sided luggage for firearms. No one. Yes, you are indeed taking a chance simply tossing your locked plastic or metal box in the ol' suitcase loose. I bought one of those little gun safe boxes that came with a cable. I loop it around the metal frame for the telescoping handle inside the bag so it won't go anywhere. (As a former airport cop, I can also tell you that theft from bags is very much opportunity-based. Making a theft more difficult is more than enough to deter a thief.) At any rate, nothing in the rules precludes soft-side luggage. A "locked container" is just that: a box, metal or plastic, that is lockable either with a built-in lock or a padlock, meant for the storage of a firearm. Frankly, I don't know how you got away with that whole hard-sided suitcase thing, but anything's possible.

rob 5819: The rules don't get that much into the nitty-gritty. A lock is a lock. Now, I've never personally seen a TSA lock used on a gun case. Those locks tend to be very small and there are folks who can break one off bare-handed. So I'd never use one and I expect most gun owners would agree. But they don't "usually" get into a person's choice of lock, so I guess if one of those cheap things is what you want...

I don't want to get into too many specifics, but I think it's common knowledge that every airport is secured differently because they're all different physically. Not every rule or regulation fits everywhere. Not every rule is needed everywhere. Not every airline treats firearms transport exactly the same as another. And as I said above, the airlines and the airport are responsible for a good-sized chunk of what goes on, with the blessing of TSA. Thus, it's not only possible but very likely that other than a couple hard-and-fast rules: 1. always declare the firearm at the ticket counter, and 2. don't take anything firearm-related into screening, your experience will be different from place to place. So be nice to the friendly TSA man and sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight, which is already in progress........
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Old 09-07-2017, 01:35 AM
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How would the airline know which bag to zip-tie at the baggage claim area? It is against federal regulations to mark the outside that indicates it contains a firearm. Maybe they tie them all.

Remind me to something legal on board that will cut a zip tie. A nail clipper will do, or maybe one of those old MRE can openers.
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Old 09-07-2017, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladder13 View Post
Somehow I've managed to travel to a few dozen states without taking a gun with me and still alive to talk about it.
You must not have traveled through Georgia much. LOL
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Old 09-07-2017, 07:43 AM
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When you check your bag at check-in, it IS marked with a special handling tag (similar to the normal destination baggage tag). . Doesn't say Firearm, but it is marked and tagged for tracking.
At the final destination, your checked bag does not just show up on the carousel, it is hand delivered to baggage claim desk of your airline. The attendant scans your bag to note that has been delivered to the receiving end. At that point my bag was triple zip tied, my identification checked, and after that, my bag was handed to me.
So as I wheeled my soft luggage bag with my enclosed locked hard cased mini safe with three thick white zip ties clearly viable on the outside, everyone in the airport knows I have guns in my luggage. Everyone. The good guys and the bad guys.
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Old 09-07-2017, 09:55 AM
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If you think flying with a firearm is complicated, try flying with a human organ in a sealed medical container.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GerSan69 View Post
Oy.
Engineer: "One TSA Rulebook" - Uh, sorta. You'd be surprised. Yes, the TSA strives to do things the same way everywhere, but there is a lot of the overall operation that is left to the airlines and local airport management. Consequently there are variations.

ISCS: double Oy. FOPA??? Wha??? As for the "soft-side" vs. "hard-side" debate, there isn't an issue. No one requires hard-sided luggage for firearms. No one. Yes, you are indeed taking a chance simply tossing your locked plastic or metal box in the ol' suitcase loose. I bought one of those little gun safe boxes that came with a cable. I loop it around the metal frame for the telescoping handle inside the bag so it won't go anywhere. (As a former airport cop, I can also tell you that theft from bags is very much opportunity-based. Making a theft more difficult is more than enough to deter a thief.) At any rate, nothing in the rules precludes soft-side luggage. A "locked container" is just that: a box, metal or plastic, that is lockable either with a built-in lock or a padlock, meant for the storage of a firearm. Frankly, I don't know how you got away with that whole hard-sided suitcase thing, but anything's possible.

rob 5819: The rules don't get that much into the nitty-gritty. A lock is a lock. Now, I've never personally seen a TSA lock used on a gun case. Those locks tend to be very small and there are folks who can break one off bare-handed. So I'd never use one and I expect most gun owners would agree. But they don't "usually" get into a person's choice of lock, so I guess if one of those cheap things is what you want...

I don't want to get into too many specifics, but I think it's common knowledge that every airport is secured differently because they're all different physically. Not every rule or regulation fits everywhere. Not every rule is needed everywhere. Not every airline treats firearms transport exactly the same as another. And as I said above, the airlines and the airport are responsible for a good-sized chunk of what goes on, with the blessing of TSA. Thus, it's not only possible but very likely that other than a couple hard-and-fast rules: 1. always declare the firearm at the ticket counter, and 2. don't take anything firearm-related into screening, your experience will be different from place to place. So be nice to the friendly TSA man and sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight, which is already in progress........
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Old 09-07-2017, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by dgk777 View Post
...
At the final destination, your checked bag does not just show up on the carousel, it is hand delivered to baggage claim desk of your airline. The attendant scans your bag to note that has been delivered to the receiving end. At that point my bag was triple zip tied, my identification checked, and after that, my bag was handed to me.
So as I wheeled my soft luggage bag with my enclosed locked hard cased mini safe with three thick white zip ties clearly viable on the outside, everyone in the airport knows I have guns in my luggage. Everyone. The good guys and the bad guys.
That is simply NOT true, in general, though it might have been the case at the airport to which you traveled.

As noted, I travel frequently and have flown to more than (20) states and via scores of airports.

NEVER has my luggage been collected at the 'baggage claim desk.' Never has it been scanned prior to my personally collecting it off the carousel. Never has it had zip ties attached.

Be safe.
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Old 09-07-2017, 10:40 AM
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I have flown with a gun over the years enough to know this: Every airline and every airport is different. Airlines differ airport to airport, as I've seen procedures change from arrival flight to departure flight. Be compliant with the airline regulations as posted when you arrive, but be prepared for anything to happen. When "anything" happens, go with the flow. Do what they tell, when they tell you, and how they tell you. I've never had any issues doing those three things. Remember, they are the ones who decide whether or not your gun goes with you, not you. Blustering up and waving a copy of their website regulations doesn't do anything but make you "that guy," and I've seen it result in somebody missing their flight.
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Old 09-07-2017, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by dgk777 View Post
When you check your bag at check-in, it IS marked with a special handling tag (similar to the normal destination baggage tag). . Doesn't say Firearm, but it is marked and tagged for tracking.
At the final destination, your checked bag does not just show up on the carousel, it is hand delivered to baggage claim desk of your airline. The attendant scans your bag to note that has been delivered to the receiving end. At that point my bag was triple zip tied, my identification checked, and after that, my bag was handed to me.
So as I wheeled my soft luggage bag with my enclosed locked hard cased mini safe with three thick white zip ties clearly viable on the outside, everyone in the airport knows I have guns in my luggage. Everyone. The good guys and the bad guys.
What airline and airports are you referring to?
I regularly fly with guns in checked baggage and the only tag issued is tapped to the outside of the gun case at check in, and upon arrival, my bags are dumped on the carousel with everyone else's bags. Only once did Southwest take my long guns to their baggage office, where I had to show ID to take possession.
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:03 PM
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FWIW, I have heard of at least one airline, can't remember which one, tagging bags with guns for special handling. It doesn't say "firearms" or anything related, but the tags are used to ID bags containing high value items, which, BTW, still doesn't sound like a good idea to me. It sounds like a "Steal Me!" tag for anyone who knows what they mean.

Muss Muggins' post reminded of something, that could be beneficial for future travelers. My goal is to get to the airport a MINIMUM of 2 hours before my boarding time, with 3 hours my typical goal. Not always do-able, but the extra time can be useful if something unexpected comes up, like TSA's smartphone app saying the security wait time is 30 minutes but ends up actually taking over an hour (happened to me). Fortunately, my check-in was relatively hassle-free, with the airline's check-in attendant just asking to see the guns in their case and putting the orange tag on (the gun case, not the suitcase). It was easier than expected, especially since, like I mentioned earlier, it happened only 1-2 weeks after the FL airport shooting.
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by rob5819 View Post
If they want the key to check your container it is supposed to be done in your presence.
If that's the case TSA at Burbank Airport violate this rule all the time.

You declare your firearm, fill out paperwork and sticker, it's taped to the inside container, then sent off to the special TSA room while you wait in the hall. They may come out of the special room to ask for your key or not. If they do ask for the key, you do not get to go with them into the special TSA room. If they don't ask for your key in 15 minutes, you're free to go the security area.

In Denver TSA runs your luggage/case through a scanner while you wait outside the room. No key required. You can look into the room, but you don't go inside the room.

Bill

Last edited by CA Escapee; 09-07-2017 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Muss Muggins View Post
I have flown with a gun over the years enough to know this: Every airline and every airport is different. Airlines differ airport to airport, as I've seen procedures change from arrival flight to departure flight. Be compliant with the airline regulations as posted when you arrive, but be prepared for anything to happen. When "anything" happens, go with the flow. Do what they tell, when they tell you, and how they tell you. I've never had any issues doing those three things. Remember, they are the ones who decide whether or not your gun goes with you, not you. Blustering up and waving a copy of their website regulations doesn't do anything but make you "that guy," and I've seen it result in somebody missing their flight.
I agree with what you said for the most part, but watch out if the airline has done it wrong, and be prepared to question them. (Politely!)

I flew out of Burbank one time via Southwest. I declared I had a firearm in a locked container in the suitcase. I also withheld a Fender Strat in its case without putting it on the scale.

The agent was showing a new guy the ropes, and distracted. I filled out the card and sticker. She printed out the flight sticker put it on the suitcase handle and tossed the suitcase on the conveyor. She never asked to see that the firearm was unloaded and locked in the inside case. I interupted her and told her the firearm is in that suitcase you just tossed on the conveyor.

She said, "No, it's in there," pointing to the guitar case. I said, no it's in there pointing to the suitcase going out of sight. She picked up her radio and called for a supervisor because a customer, "Didn't declare a firearm." I immediately corrected her and said she had better get that supervisor here now.

They recalled the suitcase and we went through the process correctly with the supervisor there. When we were all done, I spoke with the supervisor privately and explained that the agent was distracted the first time around by the new employee.

On another note there is a Southwest agent at Burbank that knows her stuff. She's not gun shy when she checks to see that the firearm is unloaded, knows how the process is suppose to go and it goes as smooth. I have asked to speak to a supervisor, called her over and taken 30 seconds to commend her work in the past.

Bill
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Your understanding of the TSA regulations is incorrect. The gun itself must be in a hard case and checked. There is nothing in the regulations that says that the hard case can not be inside a soft case.
Actually, I am 100% correct. You can argue with me all that you want to but you'd be wrong every time. The fact that the rule has been reinterpreted to mean a locked hard case inside a soft case is presently correct because it is a total reinterpretation/misinterpretation of the rule. I get away with doing it my way because my way is the way that fits into the strict definition of terms - locked, hard sided case. Literally, it implies the gun in its own locked, hard case. Anything else is a misinterpretation but, once it becomes accepted, well, then anything goes. But any hard sided, lockable suitcase, even packed with clothes, fits the definition.

Remember - the firearms cannot be "easily accessed" - using soft sided, zippered luggage that can be opened with a ballpoint pen means your guns can be easily accessed = the new interpretation of the rule cannot be correct. Except for the folks who chain that locked box or something inside their soft luggage. That might work to comply with "not easily accessed".

I don't care if you are an airline cop, TSA watchdog, Homeland Security guru, whatever - the strict definition of a locked, hard sided case is as I stated it. Reinterpreting the rule, even in error, and thereby expanding the rule, is a nice, liberal way to read the statute. I won't say it is not currently the rule as the airlines and even TSA seem to understand it. It just happens to be wrong.

But, let's be polite, I won't be argumentative beyond one final point -

Try doing the locked plastic case inside your soft sided luggage thing WITH A 26 INCH BARRELED HUNTING RIFLE. Those are firearms, too - the rule covers firearms, not concealable handguns. Riddle me that, Batman.......

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Old 09-07-2017, 06:25 PM
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See the other comments about TSA inconsistency. At Pensacola, it was as you describe. They come out and ask for the key.

In Boston when SWA was at Terminal E, I was called into the secure area and allowed to stand there while the TSA officer opened the gun case. All he cared about was making sure that there were no explosives in the case, he never looked at the guns.

Once SWA moved to Terminal A, the luggage Xray machine was in an open area where I stood and watched the suitcase go through. I got a thumbs up from the TSA officer, who put it on the conveyor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CA Escapee View Post
If that's the case TSA at Burbank Airport violate this rule all the time.

You declare your firearm, fill out paperwork and sticker, it's taped to the inside container, then sent off to the special TSA room while you wait in the hall. They may come out of the special room to ask for your key or not. If they do ask for the key, you do not get to go with them into the special TSA room. If they don't ask for your key in 15 minutes, you're free to go the security area.

In Denver TSA runs your luggage/case through a scanner while you wait outside the room. No key required. You can look into the room, but you don't go inside the room.

Bill
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Old 09-07-2017, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ISCS Yoda View Post
Actually, I am 100% correct. You can argue with me all that you want to but you'd be wrong every time. The fact that the rule has been reinterpreted to mean a locked hard case inside a soft case is presently correct because it is a total reinterpretation/misinterpretation of the rule. I get away with doing it my way because my way is the way that fits into the strict definition of terms - locked, hard sided case. Literally, it implies the gun in its own locked, hard case. Anything else is a misinterpretation but, once it becomes accepted, well, then anything goes. But any hard sided, lockable suitcase, even packed with clothes, fits the definition.

Remember - the firearms cannot be "easily accessed" - using soft sided, zippered luggage that can be opened with a ballpoint pen means your guns can be easily accessed = the new interpretation of the rule cannot be correct. Except for the folks who chain that locked box or something inside their soft luggage. That might work to comply with "not easily accessed".

I don't care if you are an airline cop, TSA watchdog, Homeland Security guru, whatever - the strict definition of a locked, hard sided case is as I stated it. Reinterpreting the rule, even in error, and thereby expanding the rule, is a nice, liberal way to read the statute. I won't say it is not currently the rule as the airlines and even TSA seem to understand it. It just happens to be wrong.

But, let's be polite, I won't be argumentative beyond one final point -

Try doing the locked plastic case inside your soft sided luggage thing WITH A 26 INCH BARRELED HUNTING RIFLE. Those are firearms, too - the rule covers firearms, not concealable handguns. Riddle me that, Batman.......
Yoda, What year do you think this misinterpretation about the hard case occurred.
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Old 09-08-2017, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by GaryS View Post
See the other comments about TSA inconsistency. At Pensacola, it was as you describe. They come out and ask for the key.

In Boston when SWA was at Terminal E, I was called into the secure area and allowed to stand there while the TSA officer opened the gun case. All he cared about was making sure that there were no explosives in the case, he never looked at the guns.

Once SWA moved to Terminal A, the luggage Xray machine was in an open area where I stood and watched the suitcase go through. I got a thumbs up from the TSA officer, who put it on the conveyor.
The only thing consistent about TSA is they're inconsistent. Keeps the bad guys guessing.

Bill

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Old 09-09-2017, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgk777 View Post
When you check your bag at check-in, it IS marked with a special handling tag (similar to the normal destination baggage tag). . Doesn't say Firearm, but it is marked and tagged for tracking.
At the final destination, your checked bag does not just show up on the carousel, it is hand delivered to baggage claim desk of your airline. The attendant scans your bag to note that has been delivered to the receiving end. At that point my bag was triple zip tied, my identification checked, and after that, my bag was handed to me.
So as I wheeled my soft luggage bag with my enclosed locked hard cased mini safe with three thick white zip ties clearly viable on the outside, everyone in the airport knows I have guns in my luggage. Everyone. The good guys and the bad guys.
Again - AGAIN - that's not everywhere, or every airline. The only "absolute" rule (other than my two hard-and-fasts above) in airline travel is that there are NO absolutes. Remember that, and you'll never be frustrated or find yourself saying, "But at the last airport, they did it this way......"
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Old 09-09-2017, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by KSDeputy View Post
It would have to be a dire family emergency before I were to fly anywhere.
I held this view for many years. Then one kid moved to Seattle. We flew out (from St. Louis) to see them, and took along some of his handguns that he'd left in our basement when he went in the Army and hadn't had a chance to retrieve (he lived in NYC for a few years after the Army). Flew Southwest nonstop, packed guns per web site instructions, zero issues at checkin, as the counter agent clearly had seen it all many times before. All in all, a completely painless experience (apart from my anxiety at checking guns for the first time in decades - the previous time was in 1967 when I bought a P-38 in Denver and just carried it home to St. Louis in my carryon bag on Frontier. Nobody asked, nobody cared.) Total travel time was about 1/2 day each way.

Then this summer we drove out to see them. Had a number of his long guns to deliver, plus lots of ammo and miscellaneous equipment - hundreds of pounds of stuff. Way too much to take on a plane, and some of it couldn't go anyway (too much ammo.) Trip took 7 full days on the road, and the gas alone was more than the plane tickets plus car rental had been. Add in meals and lodging plus 4500 miles on the car and tires, and it was a very expensive trip.

From now on, we'll fly. I can take a handgun or two with no airline hassles (both my wife and I have WA concealed carry permits - just walk in and fill out a form) and save lots of money and travel time.
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Old 09-10-2017, 12:23 PM
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I held this view for many years....
Exactly.
Not trying to diss anyone... but my experience on the "other side" of things has been a mix between folks who have a preconceived notion of what should happen when checking in a gun, whether because "they always do it (such and such) way at airport X" or they didn't follow the basic rules of packing it in their luggage: no ammo in the gun OR magazines and ammo ONLY in an ammo box, not loose (not even one round!)
A poor experience is more than likely the passenger's fault, as shown time and time again over 16 years of airport duty. Fly or don't fly, but be meticulous about packing a firearm for travel and you'll never go wrong.
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:35 PM
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I was a cop assigned to Denver Int'l Airport for almost 17 years. I was a trainer for several of those years, so I was privy to rules changes, etc. I can tell you there is no uniformity between airlines or airports when it comes to checked-in firearms. None. Some want to see it. Some don't. Some tape the tag on the gun box. Some put it in the gun box. And so on.
TSA does things according to the environment they're given. In other words, if their equipment is stashed behind closed doors not in a public area, your bag goes but you don't. If it's across the way from the ticket counter behind a screen, then you might go with it. Their rules are flexible enough that they can fit what they do almost anywhere. And really, what lock you put on your gun box is up to you. Never heard of any rule except you had to keep the key with you and not put it in the same bag as he gun.
TSA doesn't always go by their own rules. I was given a hard time going to Maine by TSA pricks who stole my fishing plairs. When I was leaving Maine I left those same pliars in my wader jacket. A TSA agent found the plairs told me to stand bacn. When he came back he told me he put the pliars in my checked bag. When I got home, they were in my bag. While most TSA/ agents are jerks, a few are decent people.

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Old 09-15-2017, 02:38 AM
GerSan69 GerSan69 is offline
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I really don't want to beat the proverbial dead horse, so I'll just toss in a web page on the topic from the TSA. They now say, "Don't use a TSA lock to secure your firearm." (Well, OK. I'll give myself a break on my answer since this info was issued two years after I retired. )

They also have a list of 10 TSA approved gun cases. Two of those are "Snapsafe" cases made to go inside another suitcase. However, if you scroll down to "What kind of gun case and lock do I need..." the photo example is one of those blue plastic hinged boxes that some companies put their new guns in. Approved? Well, sorta. It's hard-sided, and you can put locks through those little plastic loops. So yep, you can use one, but they aren't all that secure. As I've said, inconsistencies....

Lastly, there just isn't anything in there that says "hard-sided suitcase." The TSA doesn't require it. If you think they should, tell them. Otherwise, we're arguing semantics and it's not getting us anywhere.

This topic comes up periodically on every gun forum. It's appeared a couple other times that I'm aware of on this forum over the last 4 years or so. It's to be expected, though, because it's confusing, whether it's your first time or you fly all over and the rules are just different enough in different places to be annoying. And no one wants to run afoul of a reg that'll cost you an $11,000 civil forfeiture for a single violation (and that's separate from any court matters.) Heck, even TSA says, "Different airlines and airports may have slightly different rules regarding the safe packing of a firearm and its ammunition, as well as the legality of traveling there with a gun in the first place, so be sure to read the airline’s policy carefully." So even the TSA acknowledges inconsistent application of some rules.

So there you have it. "YMMV " has never been more applicable.
Air Travel with Guns | Packing, Locks, Cases, and TSA Security Checks

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Old 09-15-2017, 09:43 PM
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.455_Hunter .455_Hunter is offline
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So how do you folks who "never fly" travel for work?
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Old 09-15-2017, 09:59 PM
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So how do you folks who "never fly" travel for work?
While I am retired now, I once traveled every week of every year for almost 30 years. I remember one two week period having 22 take offs and landing. I said all that to say this. I have known many people that never had a take off or landing. Their work did not require travel. Nor did their pleasure. John Madden the famous football coach did not like to fly. He traveled by motorcoach.
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