11 August 2009
Handguns and Flying
There is no mystique in flying with firearms, however, there is also a lot of bad information passed off as truth. One of the most useful tools that I have learned to depend on is the various websites such as Handgunlaw.us for up-to-date info on CCW, traveling and peacable journey laws.

Anyone wanting to take firearms with them should visit TSA.gov's page to familiarize themselves with 'the TSA's' requirements, as well as the individual airline being used. They do not all have the same requirements.

I tend to keep things as simple as possible to minimize any hassles. The TSA doesn't seem to have very uniform training standards, and every airport seems to have their own way of doing things.

•You must declare all firearms to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
*Me to ticket agent: "Good morning, I need to declare a firearm", and the ticket agent replies: "Good Morning, you need to fill out a declaration form to go inside the case ... is it unloaded"? and then hands me the form to fill out. Which is then placed inside the case, on top of the gun(s).



•The firearm must be unloaded.
*No brainer ...

•The firearm must be in a hard-sided container.
*The harder the better, ever see baggage handlers at work?

•The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from access by anyone other than you. Cases that can be pulled open with little effort do not meet this criterion.
*I use two different locks per case.



•We recommend that you provide the key or combination to the security officer if he or she needs to open the container. You should remain present during screening to take the key back after the container is cleared. If you are not present and the security officer must open the container, we or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact you. If we can't contact you, the container will not be placed on the plane. Federal regulations prohibit unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) on aircraft. TSA locks are not approved for securing firearms.
*Usually this is a hassle-free process, but it can lead to 'discussions' with an agent that possesses an inflated sense of self importance ...

•You must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging that is specifically designed to
carry small amounts of ammunition.
*I use original boxes from commercial brands, taped shut and usually shoved inside a shoe.



•You can't use firearm magazines/clips for packing ammunition unless they completely and securely enclose the ammunition (e.g., by securely covering the exposed portions of the magazine or by securely placing the magazine in a pouch, holder, holster or lanyard).
*I've not tried this method, so don't know how the TSA agents may 'interpret' this one.

•You may carry the ammunition in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as you pack it as described above.
*I've done this when carrying only one hangun in the case.


If I'm going on an extended stay or to a shooting match, the ammunition and spare magazines get packed in a separate lockable container. I use a TSA lock for this. It's quite disheartening to find loose ammo scattered throughout your luggage because of the way it gets tossed around. Electronic hearing protection, shot timer and any othe sensitve stuff gets packed inside the clothing.




Some food for thought ...
Traveling by automobile or truck with firearms, can be a real chore sometimes with the different state and municipal laws. A lot of states have no provision for 'peaceable journey' which allows you to travel armed.

If you have concealed carry permits/license's for the states your traveling through, the requirements are sometimes different, and adjustments, to comply with and stay within the infringements restraints of the laws must be made.

Ohio has no 'peaceable journey' law, so the following rules must be observed to keep from running afoul of the law:



•It is unlawful for a person not issued a concealed handgun license or a temporary emergency license to have a firearm in a motor vehicle unless it is unloaded and carried in one of the following ways:

•Secured in a rack in plain sight.
•In plain sight, with the action open or the weapon stripped, or if the firearm’s action will not stay open or it cannot be easily stripped, in plain sight.
•In a compartment that can be reached only by leaving the vehicle.

*A firearm in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle is considered loaded if its magazine is loaded or a loaded magazine is ready at hand.

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