Holiday air travel might seem daunting, with the crowds, transporting gifts and winter weather, adding another element, like traveling with your firearms can seem inconvenient. However, believe it or not, it’s actually not! Packing and checking your firearms is quite straightforward and sometimes easier than getting yourself through the TSA checkpoints. Just follow these 8 tips and you’ll be well on your way to a Happy Holiday!
Tip #1 • It’s all about the bag! Buy or borrow a lockable, hard-sided container. MAKE SURE your container cannot be easily opened, those are not permitted! And take note, the container the firearm was in when purchased may not adequately secure the firearm when it is transported. Do yourself a favor, and grab a hard-sided container, less stress!
Tip #2 • Do your homework! Before traveling, do some research to comply with the laws concerning possession of firearms, as we all know these vary from state to state and more importantly internationally. Don’t forget to check your airline’s website and review their policies too!
Tip #3 • Check and double check…at home! Check your gun chamber to make sure it’s empty. You can also pack your guns in the case with the cylinder or action locked open so it’s completely obvious that the gun is in SAFE conditions. This isn’t required but it could help you move quicker, and it makes the airline employees jobs easier!
Tip #4 • Pack it up: want to know exactly how your firearms and ammo should look? Refer to the photo below! Both your gun and ammo needs to be stored away and not loose, they can even be in the same container, side-by-side.
Tip #5 • Check the weight! Most airlines will allow up to 11 pounds of ammunition, and like any luggage you will be charged more for baggage that weighs more than 50 lbs. It’s just always good to double check, so as to avoid any surprises, that might cost you or worse go curbside.
Tip #6 • Arrive early and declare. Declare the firearm and/or ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter. Give yourself plenty of time, once your gun case leaves your possession there’s still a chance TSA will need you to reopen the case. Most airports will tell you to wait a bit.
Tip #7 • Keys in the carry-on! Put your padlock keys in your carry-on luggage, they should be on your person at all times. Just makes your life easier; you don’t want the TSA to cut your locks off.
Tip #8 • A holiday surprise? The TSA might clear your gun case upon your departure, and yes, a TSA agent might cut your locks off somewhere between your departure and your final destination, so just be prepared. They aren’t supposed to without a good reason but, hey, it could happen. It’s also possible that your guns go missing. If this happens, TELL THE AIRLINES and destination TSA agents, and report a theft of firearms, you will get the attention you need on this subject.
Questions? “Contact the TSA Contact Center with any additional questions you have regarding TSA firearm regulations and for clarification on what you may or may not transport in your carry-on or checked bag.”