While I generally have pleasant experiences with TSA while checking in my guns, the last time I flew I was dealing with a circumstance where I wished I had been more prepared. I was told I needed to open the case and stand by outside of their safe room where they checked my guns to ensure they were unloaded and did the standard swab for explosives and drug residues. I contended that is against policy and the conversation was raised to where I was not going to be permitted to fly with my guns. I surrendered and I was troubled. Next time I fly I will have another unfortunate experience, but then I will have the following list ready.
- 1 Here are the Top 10 tips for flying with firearms:
- 1.1 1. Know the Laws of Your Destination
- 1.2 2. Plan Your Connections
- 1.3 3. Pack Your Gun at Home
- 1.4 4. Secure Your Guns in a Lockable Hard Case
- 1.5 5. Weigh Your Gun Case and Ammunition
- 1.6 6. Use Appropriate Locks
- 1.7 7. Double Check TSA and Airline Policies
- 1.8 8. Go to the Full-Service Counter for Check In
- 1.9 9. Stay With Your Bag Through Screening
- 1.10 10. Document Everything
Here are the Top 10 tips for flying with firearms:
1. Know the Laws of Your Destination
Before you even begin getting together your guns to travel, ensure the guns you intend to take are lawful at your destination. This implies that you wanted to check things like what guns or legitimate magazine ability to guarantee it is an objection in the state you are visiting. Additionally know the covered carry or open carry laws, what licenses are perceived or expected, how to lawfully store/transport guns in vehicles if you don’t have a grant and the enormous ones. Use of Force and Deadly power laws. They are totally different from one state to another. Handgunlaw.us is an incredible asset as a spot to begin.
2. Plan Your Connections
Attempt to fly nonstop so you don’t have the hurrying around of making connections and stress over lost gear. Occasionally, it’s not a choice and a corresponding flight is important for the excursion agenda. When arranging the outing search for airports that are in states that accepts your LTC or CCW permit. Try not to go through states like Illinois or New York. If something happens that changes the flight schedule and you have to take your luggage because the airline was keeping you in a hotel room for the night, you may find yourself violating the law. Best of luck getting back through TSA the following day.
3. Pack Your Gun at Home
Just as you pack your suitcase and pre-trip checklist, do the same to pack your gun and luggage. Your gun must be completely unloaded. Nothing in the chamber and invalid magazines. It is very important that you do this at home using the privacy of your home and the safety guidelines you can control. Getting to the airport, parking, and getting in with all your luggage is hard enough. Trying to secure your gun in that mix is unnecessary stress.
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4. Secure Your Guns in a Lockable Hard Case
According to TSA regulations, your unloaded gun can be with an integrated combination lock or in a case with at least two holes for a heavy-duty lock. Pistol cases can then be placed in your checked luggage. Some people could use a plastic case from a gun manufacturer, but in most cases, it does not meet the durability requirement. If one can open or cut the hair, it is not safe enough! Use heavy-duty travel cases for pistols, rifles, and shotguns from Explorer cases. They are durable for travel and have wheels for the convenience of adults.
5. Weigh Your Gun Case and Ammunition
If you are trying to stay within the 50-lb limit, you may need to discard other items in your luggage or check another bag. Most airlines allow up to 11 lbs of ammunition packed in your suitcase and they prefer it in the original packaging. If you have reloaded your ammunition or it is in large quantities, make sure you keep it in a safe container or in a plastic liquor box, not a trivial bag.
6. Use Appropriate Locks
Try not to utilize TSA locks on your gun case. It is really illegal for you to utilize a TSA lock on a gun case because unwanted persons can gain access to it once checked. By law, you must have a single key or combination to open your gun case. TSA agents are not expected to have access to your case, once cleared, unless you are present to unlock the case. Once your gun has been checked, locked in the case, and placed inside your luggage, it’s a good idea to put a TSA lock on the zipper bridges of your luggage.
Pro Tip: Remember to bring your own lock! Put them on your gun case and your luggage before you leave the house.
7. Double Check TSA and Airline Policies
Depending on who you talk to, different TSA agents and airline employees have different understandings of TSA gun policies. Keep a printed copy or screenshot on your phone so you can verify that you’re following the rules and, if necessary, prove it. Although airline policies are generally consistent between companies, each airline may vary, so be sure to print out the policy page and bring it with you. Ticket agents know a lot of information, but not every agent is familiar with gun strategies, especially if they don’t deal with them frequently.
8. Go to the Full-Service Counter for Check In
Send your gun case to the ticket agent at the airport in a closed and closed position inside your suitcase. If you normally do curbside check-in, you’ll need extra time to get inside. Don’t mess with getting your luggage tag on the kiosk. Stand in line for a full-service counter. After you give the agent your ID, tell the agent that you need to declare the gun. It is important to say, “I have a gun,” not “Declare a gun.” If you say the wrong words, you will have a very different experience and unpleasant experience. The agent will ask you to sign the declaration. This is a standard procedure that directs you to a large luggage check-in area. You will go to a safe room with a TSA agent for a security check and keep your declaration documents in your luggage.
Read More: Tips to Keep Your Gun Safe in Your Car
9. Stay With Your Bag Through Screening
After being checked by the TSA, they will line up your luggage to go through the security scanner. Don’t rush. Stay with your bag and make sure it’s getting through the scanner. You do not need TSA for any other reason during the scanning process. If they have questions or problems, they will call you back through the gate, which is a big pain and inconvenience.
10. Document Everything
Print airline and airport policies. Print the TSA policy on passenger guns and take photos of your gun, case, and then your luggage before you leave. If your luggage looks wrong when you pick up your luggage on the baggage claim, take a photo again before opening it.
The airport security process is a problem whether you have a gun or not. TSA agents are deliberate weapons to identify inadvertent errors in a forgotten pocket knife or shell casing. They are just doing their job and you can make the process easier by educating yourself and following these ten tips. A good attitude and smile go a long way at the airport.