December 4th, 2018

Holiday Air Travel with Firearms — Know the TSA Regulations

Tom McHale flying with firearms guns TSA

If you will be flying with firearms this holiday season, you should read this article. You need to familiarize yourself with current Federal Regulations on gun transport before you get anywhere near an airport. Thankfully, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a web page that states the important requirements for airline passengers traveling with firearms and/or ammunition.

TSA Tips on Traveling with Firearms:

You’ll want to visit the TSA Firearms and Ammunition webpage, and read it start to finish. In addition, before your trip, you should check the regulations of the airline(s) with which you will fly. Some airlines have special requirements, such as weight restrictions.

Here Are the TSA’s Key Guidelines for Travel with Firearms:

1. All firearms* must be declared to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
The term firearm includes:

    – Any weapon (including a starter gun) which will, or is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.
    – The frame or receiver of any such weapon.
    – Any firearm muffler or firearm silencer.
    – Any destructive device.

2. The firearm must be unloaded. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 – “A 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.”

3. The firearm must be in a hard-sided container that is locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be pulled open with little effort cannot be brought aboard the aircraft.

4. If firearms are not properly declared or packaged, TSA will provide the checked bag to law enforcement for resolution with the airline. If the issue is resolved, law enforcement will release the bag to TSA so screening may be completed.

5. TSA must resolve all alarms in checked baggage. If a locked container containing a firearm alarms, TSA will contact the airline, who will make a reasonable attempt to contact the owner and advise the passenger to go to the screening location. If contact is not made, the container will not be placed on the aircraft.

6. If a locked container alarms during screening and is not marked as containing a declared firearm, TSA will cut the lock in order to resolve the alarm.

7. Travelers should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation.

8. Travelers must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.

9. Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm.

10. Small arms ammunition, including ammunition not exceeding .75 caliber for a rifle or pistol and shotgun shells of any gauge, may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as it follows the packing guidelines described above.

11. TSA prohibits black powder or percussion caps used with black-powder.

12. Rifle scopes are not prohibited in carry-on bags and do not need to be in the hard-sided, locked checked bag.

More Airline Travel Tips from Tom McHale
Tom McHale has written an excellent article for the Beretta Blog, Ten Things You Need to Know about Flying with Guns. We suggest you visit the Beretta Blog to read this informative story. Here are two of Tom McHale’s Travel Tips:

Weigh your gun case and ammunition
Most airlines will allow up to 11 pounds of ammunition. And, like any luggage, you will be charged more for any baggage weighing more than 50 pounds. This sounds like a lot, but when traveling to the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun competition last year, my case with shotgun, rifle, pistol and ammunition tipped the scale past the 50 pound mark.

Pack ammo in the same locking case
This is another area that’s misunderstood and full of internet myth. Your ammo just needs to be stored in some type of safe container and not loose. Technically, you can keep ammunition in magazines, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It meets the letter of the law storage requirement, but too many airline and TSA agents will give you grief. Use a plastic ammo box or original cardboard packaging and you’ll be fine carrying that in the same lockable case as your gun.

Tom McHale flying with firearms guns TSA

*Please see, United States Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44 for information about firearm definitions.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Tech Tip No Comments »
June 18th, 2011

Who’s Stealing Guns Checked With Airlines? (Gun Talk Topic)

This Sunday on Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk radio show, the discussion is about traveling with firearms when flying, how to protect your property from disappearing while in the care of airlines, and what to do when a gun is stolen in transit.

One of Tom’s friends, a well-known firearms instructor, will tell his story of how one of his pistols was recently stolen while in the custody of Southwest Airlines, after he had declared the firearms with the airline and had them checked by TSA. When his locked case arrived, the padlocks had been cut off the case, and one of the pistols was missing. He filed a police report, contacted the airline, and also talked with the Transportation Security Administration.

Neither the TSA nor Southwest Airlines will take responsibility for the stolen firearm. No one wants to talk about who cut the padlocks off the case. Southwest says it isn’t their responsibility. TSA says it’s the airline’s responsibility. The police don’t appear to be very excited about the fact that a pistol was taken in the airport environment.

“All this leads to the question,” said show host Tom Gresham, “does this happen so often that no one really finds it to be unusual? Both the TSA and Southwest Airlines have been invited to appear on this Sunday’s national broadcast. At this time, it’s uncertain whether either will provide a spokesperson.

In its 16th year of national syndication, Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk Radio airs live on Sundays from 2:00 to 5:00 pm Eastern, and runs on more than 115 stations, plus on XM (Ch. 165) Satellite Radio. All Gun Talk shows can be downloaded as podcasts via the GunTalk Archive site.

Permalink News No Comments »