If you want to take your guns on a plane, you need to check them with your luggage. This is the easiest and fastest way to handle this process. In most cases, checking your guns and following the rules makes for a hassle free experience. However, you have to remember there are two sets of rules – those that TSA have set and the ones from your airline. While some of these are consistent, others are not. As a result, it is best to use the tips here to make sure you don’t have issues when traveling with your gun.
Purchase a Lockable Hard Case
According to the regulations, it can be a case with integrated combinations or one that uses heavy duty padlocks. Don’t use TSA locks on the gun case – it is illegal to do this. These locks are not secure and once your gun is checked, no one but you should be able to open the case.
Review the Airlines Policies
Even though most airlines use the same rules related to guns, this isn’t always the case. Make sure you print out your airline’s policy and bring it along with you. Unfortunately, not everyone you encounter will have a full understanding of the airline’s gun policy.
Review the TSA Policy Website
The TSA changes their policies and regulations on a regular basis. As a result, it is best to print this out before your flight. Having the latest version of rules and regulations may help if you encounter a TSA agent who is following former rules or regulations.
Unload the Magazine and Gun
Do this while you are still at home. Make sure to check the chamber and ensure it is empty.
Weight Your Ammunition and Case
Most airlines cap the amount of ammunition you can have at 11 pounds. Also, much like any luggage, you are going to be charged for any baggage that weighs over 50 pounds. While this may sound like a lot, guns and ammunition can add up quickly.
Put the Ammo in the Same Locked Case
Don’t try to travel with loose ammo. While you can keep it in magazines, it isn’t recommended. While it meets the law according to storage requirements, the fact is, many TSA agents will give you a hard time about it. Instead, use a cardboard package or plastic ammo box and lock it in the same case with your gun.
Keep the Gun Safe Closed and Locked while in the Airport
You will have to go to the airline counter if traveling with a gun. When checking it in, just calmly let the agent know you have a firearm to declare. Avoid yelling “I’ve got a gun” since this may cause a bit of commotion. At this point, the agent will tell you want to do next.
Remain at the Counter for a Few Minutes
Even though you have checked in your gun, it doesn’t mean you aren’t going to have to open the case again. The majority of airports will tell you to wait for a little bit. This means you need to arrive in plenty of time to wait around and make sure there are no issues with your gun.
Keep the Padlock Keys in Your Carry On Luggage
If you don’t keep your keys with you, TSA will be more than happy to cut the locks. This can cost you quite a bit. Don’t let it happen by keeping the keys on you at all times.
Be Ready for the Unexpected
While you may not have any issues traveling with your gun, you may also have a few challenges to face. Regardless of the situation, be patient and kind. Remember, TSA agents are there for your safety and the safety of other travelers.
When you know what to expect, you can ensure traveling with a gun is a non-issue for you.