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Old 08-11-2016, 02:40 PM   #1
Jed
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TSA

Hi all,

New to Walther and the forum

I'm about to travel within the US with my PPQ, I was wondering if you might be able to offer me advice on flying with a firearm.
TSA Tells of a hard sided case that can be locked and that must be checked with CHECKED BAGS but I would like to hear from you about what I should watch for so I can avoid any pit falls.

Many thanks
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Old 08-11-2016, 03:12 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. First, make sure you are legal in BOTH your originating and destination state for carry. Second, it varies a LOT by airline and TSA location/agent. It shouldn't but it does. Check with the specific airline and make SURE that they are not subbing out a leg of the flight. Some folks have gotten stuck because one leg is with some podunk local airline that doesn't allow firearms, etc.

I have found these sites helpful"
Air Travel with Guns: Packing, Locks, Cases, and TSA Security Checks - Airport Security | TSA Travel Tips

Packing & the Friendly Skies
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Old 08-11-2016, 04:59 PM   #3
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I have flown twice this year - to differing destinations - and brought some some Walthers each time with no problems (and I was flying from New York, which has some of the worst laws in the land). Key, as PPS pointed out above, is knowing the laws of where you're going.

Make sure you're legal where your ultimate destination is going to be; Federal law allows you to safely "pass through" states along the way but you MUST be legal wherever it is you're staying, if even for one day. For purposes of shipping, I use one of the rugged grey plastic shipping containers like the one you can get for $30 here... you can pack all kinds of stuff inside, they're crush-proof and with a padlock through either end, ain't nobody breaking in and it works fine for TSA's needs. Make sure you're the only one with the keys at all times, and when checking in at the front desk tell the airline clerk first and foremost that you need to declare firearms in your checked baggage. They'll call someone from TSA (and possibly the local constable, as was the case in NY) who will have you open your tote and demonstrate the fact that everything is unloaded. Be a good boy and install cable locks just to be triple-dog sure & extra safe with TSA.

Once they're satisfied, the ticketing agent will fill out and affix a special tag or card that reads "Firearm Unloaded", which has radiopaque ink the x-ray guys down the line can discern while clearing your tote. Once you're all locked back up, your tote goes off into the baggage system like anything else; the agent may have you wait for a minute or two to make sure everything is copasetic then you'll be on your way. Once you arrive at your destination it may come to you just like all the other bage (like in Florida & Ohio) or via "special delivery" by someone who will bring it to you from the luggage office (as in New York). Heck I ended up with A1-plus service in KALB because I was the first one to get his bags back... the agent delivered my goods - directly to me - several minutes before anything started rolling along the belt!

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Old 08-11-2016, 05:15 PM   #4
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All of the above is sound info and I have only the following to add to it:
  • When declaring your firearm, the clerk may inadvertently hand you the form air marshals must fill out before boarding with a firearm on their person. If you're not an air marshal with the required training, hand it back to the clerk and indicate that you're not a law enforcement officer and you need the other form.
  • Pay attention to the PA system in the airports for all legs of your flights, because you might, at any time, be paged to a location where you'll be met by TSA for the express purpose of you opening your locked container to allow TSA to verify/validate that the firearm is unloaded. This could happen before you depart, during your layover, or even after you land but before your baggage has been conveyed for claim at the baggage claim area.
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Last edited by surrealone; 08-11-2016 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 08-11-2016, 05:23 PM   #5
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Thank you all.

Sorry for placing this post in the wrong section
The links and info provided are very useful.

Last edited by Jed; 08-11-2016 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 08-11-2016, 06:21 PM   #6
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Good luck in your travels.
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Old 08-11-2016, 07:17 PM   #7
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Another point to stress is that you must retain possession of the keys at all times. And only you – if the TSA or gate agent asks you for the keys to open the tote, politely refuse and say that you will open it for them under their direct supervision. That little caveat could trip up a traveler… it is the law that you retain sole possession of the keys.

-Pilotsteve
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Old 08-11-2016, 07:55 PM   #8
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I've flown twice with my PPQ. In both cases, they did not want me to open the locked case, but be prepared because some agents may want you to. In any case, do not open even begin to open it until directed to do so!

Also, check the airline's rules - most will allow up to 11lbs of ammunition, but some airlines allow less.

In both cases I flew, they checked the whole bag (with my locked gun case inside) with a special scanner. I would advise hanging around a few minutes (10-15), until they give you an "all clear". Out of Denver, that was in a separate room, about 100 feet away from the ticketing counter (a TSA agent carried it that distance). In Fayetteville, AR, they did that behind the ticketing area, and I just waited out front until they came out and said it's good.

Just make absolutely sure it's unloaded. Also, look at airline requirements for how ammunition must be stored. Some say that in the magazine is fine. Most now say it must be in a plastic or cardboard box specifically designed to hold rounds. Loose rounds, even in the original retail box, are generally not allowed. But the cardboard boxes with the plastic rack inside are fine.

By and large, it was much less hassle than it would appear, after reading from everybody's responses over the years. I was pretty underwhelmed by the experience (good thing), and would have no compunction about doing it again.
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Old 08-11-2016, 08:19 PM   #9
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As an afterthought and for consideration, I personally ALWAYS have a copy of the following with me when checking a firearm for a flight:
  • TSA regulations/rules regarding traveling with/checking a firearm
  • The specific airline's regulations/rules regarding traveling with/checking a firearm

I've never needed these, but it won't hurt to have a copy with you in the event that you encounter an airline worker or TSA agent who doesn't know the rules/regulations. There's no insurance policy that's quite as good as having the rules/regs right there, in black/white, to use as a reference -- and it's tough for someone to dispute.
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Old 08-16-2016, 02:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surrealone View Post
As an afterthought and for consideration, I personally ALWAYS have a copy of the following with me when checking a firearm for a flight:
  • TSA regulations/rules regarding traveling with/checking a firearm
  • The specific airline's regulations/rules regarding traveling with/checking a firearm

I've never needed these, but it won't hurt to have a copy with you in the event that you encounter an airline worker or TSA agent who doesn't know the rules/regulations. There's no insurance policy that's quite as good as having the rules/regs right there, in black/white, to use as a reference -- and it's tough for someone to dispute.
I would agree with this. Also, highlight or otherwise mark key passages - such as the part where ONLY YOU should have access to the firearm box.
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