How to Travel on Airplanes With a Gun

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 00:20
If you enjoy shooting in places far from your home, you will probably need to carry a gun (and ammunition) on an airplane to get to your destination. While most "gun destinations" cater to high power rifles and shotguns, many...
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If you enjoy shooting in places far from your home, you will probably need to carry a gun (and ammunition) on an airplane to get to your destination. While most "gun destinations" cater to high power rifles and shotguns, many "destinations" are for target-shooting matches where the guns are more-typically .22 rifles, pistols and air rifles.

Method 1
Method 1 of 2:

Traveling in the US

  1. Step 1 Get a good case.
    The best cases are those made by Pelican,[1] Starlight, and similar companies. These cases are tough! Supposedly a tank can roll over them without damage to the contents. TSA and airline baggage handling is rough on cases, so the best case is a requirement. The typical Walmart case simply will not do.
    • The best cases have foam linings that can be cut to fit your gun(s). In many cases, you must make cutouts since the guns will not fit without cutting. Do not cut openings for ammunition -- even for car travel, it is often illegal to have ammunition packed with the weapon. You can provide for magazines and other gear, though.
    • Pistols can be packed inside of regular luggage. Since the theft of any gun is a consideration, having a case that does not resemble a gun case can be an advantage. Obviously, having your pistols enclosed in regular luggage provides this obfuscation. Some people pack rifles in golf club travel containers. The Pelican-like cases are not as obviously "gun" cases as these are also used for demonstration equipment, tools, and instruments.
  2. Step 3 Use a NON-TSA approved lock.
    While many will tell you to use a TSA approved lock, this is actually prohibited by 49CFR 1540.111, the regulation that governs firearm transportation.[2] It should be noted that the TSA usually allows the use of TSA locks but in reality, they are not legal as they are designed to be opened by a TSA master key, which is expressly prohibited by the above regulation. The TSA will ask you to unlock the case or provide them a key (do not give them the combination if a combination lock is used), then they will visually inspect the packing of your gun, after which they will either have you re-lock your case or they will re-lock it and return your key. TSA agents are not trained or allowed to handle a firearm, so no contact should be made in that manner. If an agent feels the firearm requires in-depth inspection, they must have a law enforcement officer come over to perform that function. If re-inspection is deemed necessary after the bag is checked, they will locate the owner and have them open the case again, so it is wise to remain in the area or on the aircraft after checking the firearm. Buy the best non-TSA locks you can find.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 2:

International Travel

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  • In both cases, it may be helpful to have printed versions of the published rules. If any dispute arises, having the "paper" handy may facilitate your trip's success.
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  • Call and review the airline rules for gun travel. Each airline has somewhat different rules.
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  • TSA regulations must be reviewed.
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  • Be sure to check that the airport you are landing in or transiting through does not take possession of your gun illegal. For example, if you intend to land in a New York City airport with a handgun (which is illegal without an NYC carry permit), you may be arrested even though you intended to transit through to another area where possession may be legal.[8]
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Things You'll Need

  • Case. Look for "airline approved" and expect to pay about $200. Try for one that latches rather simply -- TSA people may be somewhat "challenged" on re-closing some cases. Cheap cases simply will not do -- they are obvious and are not sturdy enough. For pistol cases, something like an instrument case is less obvious and may be large enough to hold a range box. Cases with rollers are nice but not mandatory.

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