Flying With Firearms
How To Safely Fly With Firearms To Carry Concealed When You Travel
By: Jay Busch
Flying sucks. Whether you do it every day or once a year, no one looks forward to breathing recirculated air while being crammed inside a aluminum tube at 36,000 feet. To make matters worse, TSA always seems to take a personal and intimate approach to your screening process.
If that wasn’t enough, try flying with a firearm. After over a decade of trudging through checkpoints with no shoes, no jackets, no belts, liquids in containers smaller than 3 oz, and every so often being felt up by TSA you would think that this activity would give you a glimpse into the bureaucratic nightmare that is the TSA. Surprisingly, flying with a firearm is relativity easy. Unfortunately, the smallest, simplistic mistake could cause you to lose a day in Miami or worse, land you in jail. Take a look at National Carry Academy’s checklist for flying with firearms.
Flying With Firearms
Everyday, two million American’s shuffle through TSA checkpoints across America. That is roughly equivalent to the combined population of Alaska, Vermont, and Washington DC. Every. Single. Day. In 2014, TSA screened more than 653 million passengers. It is safe to say that whatever you do at the airport, or however kind and nice your are, more often than not you are just looked at as a number crossing through security that is going to put the agents one person closer to clocking out for the day.
If you choose to fly with a firearm, run through this check list prior to boarding to ensure that you have the least amount of issues getting to your destination. Firearms must be in checked baggage and are not allowed in the sanitized (areas past security checkpoints) locations at the airport.
First of all, we must look at what TSA classifies as a firearm. According to 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3) a firearm is 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, or any destructive device. Whew, now that we have that taken care of, here is the checklist to follow when flying with firearms.
1. All Firearms Must Be Declared. While checking your bags, you must declare to the boarding agent of your airline that you have firearms and/or ammunition with. While checking the firearm, it must be unloaded with no round in the chamber or cylinder and no magazine inserted into the firearm. The firearm must be in a hard sided container that is locked. Once the firearm and ammunition is inspected, the bag will be marked as containing a firearm or ammunition.
2. Do Not Store Your Firearm In Your Carry On. Now this should go without saying, but last year TSA confiscated 2,212 firearms from carry-ons. That comes out to just over six firearms a day. Before you go to bed at night, realize that TSA found six people trying to bring a loaded firearm onto a plane. A good way to look at it is if you need to go through a metal detector, chances are you shouldn’t be bringing a firearm through there.
3. Watch out for Ammo. Believe it or not, flying with a firearm is not the most difficult part. Flying with ammunition is. Ammunition must be packed in a fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal box. This ammunition must be smaller than .75 caliber and can be carried in the same container as the firearm (just make sure that there are no rounds in the firearm itself.)
4. Check With Your Airline. While it might not seem like it, airlines and TSA are completely two separate entities. Each and every airline is allowed to enact additional restrictions on flights that they operate and can establish more strict guidelines than the ones that TSA puts out. It is always good to give the airlines a call and establish what the carrier specific guidelines, if any, are.
Flying is already a hassle. If you fly with a firearm or ammunition, follow these steps above to ensure that your day of travel goes as smooth as possible.