Featured Mac's Guide to Flying with a Firearm:

Discussion in 'Carry Issues' started by MacG22, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. MacG22


    Yup. That's part of why I'm such a big believer of showing them a hard copy of their regs and TSA regs. When you show up and they can see you've done your homework, they tend not to challenge you on that stuff. Even the little comments cut back when they realized I was better prepared then they were.

    If they want you to leave it unlocked, I would absolutely resist. TSA laws state that only you may have access. "But I'd be more than happy to accompany the bag to secondary screening, it's really no trouble...."

    Wanna kill these ads? We can help!
    lwold likes this.
  2. 2c5s

    TSA linky no worky

  3. MacG22


    Just updated it. Appears they change their site often, but this looks like a shorter link so it may last a bit longer.
  4. here is a copy of the LAW! copy it, print it, and highlite the appropriate places. I've used it to make TSA comply. They didn't believe that I actually had the law in my posession!

    [Code of Federal Regulations]
    [Title 49, Volume 8]
    [Revised as of October 1, 2003]
    From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
    [CITE: 49CFR1540.111]

    [Page 295]




    Subpart B--Responsibilities of Passengers and Other Individuals and

    Sec. 1540.111 Carriage of weapons, explosives, and incendiaries by individuals.

    (a) On an individual's person or accessible property--prohibitions.
    Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, an individual may
    not have a weapon, explosive, or incendiary, on or about the
    individual's person or accessible property--
    (1) When performance has begun of the inspection of the individual's
    person or accessible property before entering a sterile area, or before
    boarding an aircraft for which screening is conducted under Sec.
    1544.201 or Sec. 1546.201 of this chapter;
    (2) When the individual is entering or in a sterile area; or
    (3) When the individual is attempting to board or onboard an
    aircraft for which screening is conducted under Sec. 1544.201 or Sec.
    1546.201 of this chapter.
    (b) On an individual's person or accessible property--permitted
    carriage of a weapon. Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply as to
    carriage of firearms and other weapons if the individual is one of the
    (1) Law enforcement personnel required to carry a firearm or other
    weapons while in the performance of law enforcement duty at the airport.
    (2) An individual authorized to carry a weapon in accordance with
    Sec.Sec. 1544.219, 1544.221, 1544.223, or 1546.211 of this chapter.
    (3) An individual authorized to carry a weapon in a sterile area
    under a security program.
    (c) In checked baggage. A passenger may not transport or offer for
    transport in checked baggage:
    (1) Any loaded firearm(s).
    (2) Any unloaded firearm(s) unless--
    (i) The passenger declares to the aircraft operator, either orally
    or in writing, before checking the baggage, that the passenger has a
    firearm in his or her bag and that it is unloaded;
    (ii) The firearm is unloaded;
    (iii) The firearm is carried in a hard-sided container; and
    (iv) The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the
    passenger retains the key or combination.

    (3) Any unauthorized explosive or incendiary.
    (d) Ammunition. This section does not prohibit the carriage of
    ammunition in checked baggage or in the same container as a firearm.
    Title 49 CFR part 175 provides additional requirements governing
    carriage of ammunition on aircraft.

    [67 FR 8353, Feb. 22, 2002, as amended at 67 FR 41639, June
    itslucky likes this.
  5. What if the flight makes a stop in a restrictive city or state along the way? Such as Chicago and/or New York? I was thinking about a trip from Miami, FL to Cleveland, Ohio, but the flight seems to stop in Chicago along the way and in New York on the way back.
  6. MacG22


    There's no issue with transport in terms of connections.

    Now, if it's a "stop over"...let's say, overnight and you leave the airport, then you are subject to the laws of the state/city. Generally, so long as you are on a flight out in the morning, you fall under "pass through" regs which your locked case can satisfy so long as you don't have it accessible to you in your means of conveyance. This is general, though. Check and make sure you know the laws of a city if you get caught (canceled flights). This site is a good guide for basic pass through info:
  7. I did read that guide before and the part that has "DECISION ON NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY PORT AUTHORITY CASE DUE SOON" makes New York sound especially worrisome.
  8. MacG22


    Yeah. I fly through New York occasionally. It's not a huge connection hub for me. But I've had a few cancellations in Chicago and NY before (when not flying with my firearm). Even Chicago has a workable pass through law if you're not there long, IMO.

    But with NY, I've always assumed that if it happened that I would leave them in Terminal luggage storage. I believe all airports have this. There is a fee (for example, at JFK a small bag is $8 per 24 hours, a large bag is like $15). But it stays at the terminal and is locked down, etc. Even with Chicago's pass through laws--being stricter than most outside of Boston's--I would probably leave the bag in terminal storage, put any clothes or dop kit in my carry-on, and not worry.
  9. MacG22



    California is about as bad as it gets. So I just called California DOJ firearms office ((916)263-4887) and asked about a stopover/cancellation/etc and what I should do.

    There were two suggestions, and he was incredibly helpful and friendly:

    1. Consider terminal storage

    2. If not, and a passenger (non resident of California) is forced to stop over in California (Los Angeles from LAX, for example), then the hotel becomes their temporary residence and there's no need to call ATF/DOJ, etc, to inform. Just keep the handgun in TSA condition--broken down is best, locked, unloaded, etc-- and all is fine. He said this works for a period of passing through. If you decided to spend a few extra days and play, it would become subject to out of state transport and etc and may become a different situation.

    I'd want to call NY as well to see if it's the same, but California is about as strict as it gets so I imagine that if you inquire at each state, about the same standard could apply. That is an assumption. I'll see if I can get ahold of NYC as well.
    #29 MacG22, Mar 29, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
    lwold likes this.
  10. zoti

    What was the specific problem you had in NYC?

    What would you do in case for some crazy reason they DON'T let you check in the gun? How would you ship it back to yourself?
  11. MacG22


    Ok. I just talked to ATF in NYC ((718) 650-4070). Little different answer. Regarding the California procedure, they said, "That's they way it works almost everywhere. Here, we make a different recommendation." You'll see at the end that this is not necessarily true, the California procedure is valid, but there are two agencies and jurisdiction to watch out for--NYPD and ATF. Here are the comments for both.

    The agent I spoke with had just gotten out of the military. He was extremely polite and helpful, and transferred me to their legal department for followup questions (message left) as well as giving me a number to a gentleman with the state police. Again, very helpful. I'm going to give you the long version, but at the end is a simple conclusion.

    He said that NYC is different than almost all others. Federally, he said there's no problem with possession. So ATF doesn't have any issue. But the state law is intense, and you are not permitted to have possession of a firearm in NYC is you are a non resident and you don't have any sort of permit (and except for special situations--law enforcement, etc--non residents cannot have permits). He said that there is a fight going on now regarding even taking possession on the airport grounds from the luggage retrieval area. TSA takes custody at the check in counter, and their custody ends when they return it to you. There have been some legal battles about if a traveler was considered "in transport" or not. He said, though, that ATF doesn't care about possession and the NYPD would laws I would be under.

    So to be clear about this first part... ATF has no issue, NYPD and State Police would be the ones to make sure you please.

    So I called and spoke with an agent of the NYPD Pistol Licensing division (646-610-5560). She was not as friendly, acted put out by the call, but gave some really good and confident information.

    1. She said that NYPD doesn't do anything in the airport. Not that they can't, they just don't. They don't care, so long as everything stays locked down in the luggage (Stays in "TSA Condition"). ATF and TSA really govern that area, and so as long as you do what they are comfortable with there are no issues. Terminal storage is no issue for them, because if TSA and the ATF don't have an issue on the airport grounds, they don't care. That is, for a packed, stowed, locked gun case in your luggage. "Pull it out or talk about it with other passengers or make everyone aware you have it and then we may care... but that's because of you, not us."

    2. She said that if you're caught in travel (NY is not your DESTINATION), and you need to go to a hotel, etc, that as long as the weapon stays in "TSA CONDITION", locked down, in the luggage, etc, that there is no issue. They have decided to treat is as interstate transport and that's fine. She was very clear that this means, IN THE LUGGAGE, LOCKED DOWN, never on the person or "in their immediate possession" in the sense of unlocked, assembled, etc. She said that doing that will get you hung on the gallows. But just being a traveler who was caught in NYC and kept it all in TSA Condition would be fine. When driving, put the bag in the trunk or out of your reach if possible. Don't walk around town with your bag. Put it in the hotel/your residence while there and walk around with a different bag if you "feel the need to tour the burrows with a bag on you." Never pull it out.


    According to several conversations with TSA, TSA Legal, DOJ/ATF in California and New York, and the NYPD Gun Agency, it appears the "California" transport concept should be good ALMOST EVERYWHERE in the US right now. I didn't check Boston, because I never fly through there, but that's the other one I'd be cautious of. Other than that, it seems like emergency stopover or connection cancellation, etc, shouldn't be too much of an issue even in the worst cities so long as you leave everything locked up, put it in the back of the car/trunk when transporting, and just carry the bag as needed to go back and forth from hotel/residence and airport.

    And it appears that the safest of the safest way to do it is just to purchase terminal storage if it happens to you. That way, even in NYC, no one will even give it a thought.
    #31 MacG22, Mar 29, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  12. MacG22


    So long as you have it packaged to TSA standards and the airlines standards, there's no way they cannot let you check the gun. That's why I recommend having a copy of the regs on you, though, so you can show them.

    I've never heard of that happening, by the way. If a desk agent acts confused, just politely ask for a supervisor. They know policy and won't rock the boat over it so long as you show you know the policies and have met them.
  13. zoti

    Ok. I understand the NYC issue. However, I plan to fly to upstate NY to do some gun training and then to NYC to stay with a friend over the weekend.

    It looks like it's going to be complicated.
  14. MacG22


    Yeah. If your DESTINATION is NYC and you're not just passing through, then--in the state-- you are not permitted to possess a firearm without a license.

    I would not take your weapon in this case.

    Also, you want to check the laws about taking your gun to that upstate course. The ATF agent told me that the non possession by non residents was state wide. He said if you have a shoot in the state (competition, etc) that they recommend shipping the gun to your location, within proper laws. He was a military guy... seemed very pro gun... and said the laws there were nuts right now, and if asked he tells non residents whose DESTINATION is NY State to be extremely cautious.
    #34 MacG22, Mar 29, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  15. zoti

    Thanks. That kind of ruins everything but I guess I could always use a friend's gun fro training or rent one.
  16. great information, you're the man.
  17. I vote sticky on this, great info OP!
    I especially like the cable idea.
  18. zoti

    I've been using pacsafe product in the like when I traveled to Thailand with my camera gear and laptop. I used it to lock my stuff inside my room when I went out but the net can be used to lock your gun case inside your suitcase and into it.

    I love their product and take it with me when I travel and think I might have valuables that I will need to leave unsupervised.

    It will not stop a determined theif but it will slow him down and will deter those oppertunity thieves.

  19. MacG22


    If it were me, I'd rent one there. DON'T forgo the training, just make other arrangements regarding the firearm.

    However, I did post a number to the NYPD Pistol Licensing division (oversees the state). That's the department that handles all firearms inquiries. Just tell an agent about the training upstate, etc and see what they say.
  20. Do NOT do that and get caught.

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