Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

Mac's Guide to Flying with a Firearm:

Discussion in 'The SHOT ShowCase' started by MacG22, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. MacG22

    MacG22 CLM

    Feb 28, 2008
    Pacsafe is a great product. NOTHING will stop a determined thief but time. But it's a good product to keep it from walking away. It can be cut pretty quickly (I've tested them) but they have to cut each section until they can get it out because of the slash stop.

    There's also this cable. If cut, it set's off a 120db alarm:


    And this pacsafe bag has that slash liner on the inside and can be a great way to carry ammo, mags, etc (it's soft sided so won't work for the gun on the airline) but is a great way to store it at your destination or in your car:


  2. zoti


    Mar 13, 2010
    Plano, TX
    I have no intention of doing that.

  3. Captain38


    Dec 21, 2004
    Actually, the law enforcement agency that will present possible problems for anyone flying out of the greater NYC area airports with a firearm is the Port Authority Police of New York-New Jersey.
  4. Bill Lumberg

    Bill Lumberg BTF Inventor

    Jun 14, 2002
    Good write-up. It should be noted that the stock glock box and a stock glock cable lock are fully sufficient for checking a gun.
  5. MacG22

    MacG22 CLM

    Feb 28, 2008
    I lumped the PA under NYPD, in this case, because the ATF agent said that that NYPD Pistol Licensing are the ones deferred to when TSA, PA, NYPD, and ATF have an issue with firearms and the state law. That's who they call, so to speak.

    However, I am certainly not an expert on the agencies there and only know what I was told in my conversations with those agencies. The numbers are posted above and I would encourage any NYC residents to investigate further post your findings here for the benefit of the community.

    Yes and no. I asked TSA if a cable lock was a sufficient lock for the gun case (as a backup...because I have two dozen of them sitting in the safe). According to TSA, a cable lock is fine so long as it prevents the case from opening. However, if you can still open it enough to get the gun out (which you CAN, with many cable locks) then they will not permit it to be loaded on the plane. TSA told me that the box must be locked SECURELY, meaning that you can't just reach in and get it out.

    So regarding cable locks their answer was, essentially, "If you've got a way to make a cable lock keep it closed--which most won't do--then yes. But cable locks were designed for the firearm itself, not the case". A stock glock cable can be wrapped around the handle of the stock glock box pretty securely, IMO, but it can also leave some slack if you're not careful.

    I'm sure many folks have used the cable lock just fine and can continue to, but I also wanted to let you know that it could be a problem with TSA if you get the wrong guy on the wrong day and that may not be a chance worth taking. The combo masterlock I put on my case cost me $10 and is twice as strong as the cable locks I got with my firearms (in terms of force to cut). However, if you're going to use your stock glock box (I use my M&P case) there's no lock hole so you'll have to improvise in some way.
  6. chemcmndr


    Aug 23, 2008
    Beavercreek, OH
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the TSA/check in agents were not allowed to handle your firearm. You were the only one that could handle it and show them that it was unloaded.
  7. MacG22

    MacG22 CLM

    Feb 28, 2008
    They can handle it for purposes of inspection and verification. At least they do, and in my experience they are not about to give up that activity any time soon. I've had them physically inspect almost every time I've ever brought it assembled, and I've had it physically inspected at secondary, too. The last thing I would recommend when they unlock that box is for you to reach for it. But that's just me.

    But once it's inspected and locked, ONLY YOU are allowed to have the key.
  8. Robby6Pack


    Feb 23, 2010
    Norman, OK
    Great info here. Just thought I would share a story from this morning at OHare. I am through here almost weekly. I sometimes bring a firearm and other times don't. This time I had NO firearm. When I'm on the road, I look at ammo prices, and if it's even $1 cheaper a box, I'll buy a couple. Hey, it doesn't cost anything. Anyway, I have never had any problems here at OHare. Ammo was in the original boxes and I hadn't exceeded the weight limit for United. Get to the counter, use kiosk and when the girl(very nice and polite) comes to tag my bag, I declare that I have ammo. She is taking me to the special luggage desk, which is normal, but nobody is there. She grabs a Supervisor. He immediately freaks that I have ammo. "You can't check this here!" The girl calmly tells him the situation. He is digging for forms and all kind of stuff. He brings me one of the orange tags for firearms, the one that says "unloaded Firearm". I have a bewildered look, and he sees it. I am at this point kinda laughing inside. He stops and says I have to see a TSA agent. Cool. He explains rather rudely that I was unwilling to fill out a "unloaded firearm" card. I said "Sir, I'm not carrying a firearm, and you can't unload bullets without shooting them". TSA guy laughs. Supervisor clearly pissed. Asks TSA what the rule is. TSA guy explains that all is cool and no card is needed when no firearm is present. Never had any trouble here before, just thought it was ironic that I ran across this post last night. Oh, he also wanted to put something on the bag so the TSA would no there was ammo in the bag. TSA guy said absolutely not. Once again great info in this thread!

    Only other airport story is coming home form Hawaii(1993). Getting out of Marines and coming home. Have a New Model Black 45 long colt in a locked case in my locked sea bag. Back before 9/11 so everything could be locked. Lady asked to inspect so I dig it out. She starts waving a Stainless Steel 45 with a 7.5" barrel around asking for assistance from some of the guys behind the counter. I asked her to put it down until someone got there or I could show her where to inspect. I heard the others chewing her out as I walked towards the gates.

    Robby T
  9. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

    Mar 26, 2003
    In general, you will be hard pressed to rent a gun in NY. Only a few select places do that. And unless you are in the state as a LEO or doing very specific TRAINING or COMPETITION affiliated with the National Rifle Association, possession of a handgun in NY would be unlawful.

    Under no circumstance, should anyone who is not

    a) LE
    b) NYS pistol permit holder

    attempt to traverse NYC airports with a handgun. YOU WILL BE ARRESTED. YOU WILL MISS YOU FLIGHT. YOU WILL BE PROCESSED, FINGERPRINTED AND BOOKED (unless you are the wife of some CNN muckety-muck).

    The port authority is the lead LE agency at NYC airports, but if a gun arrest has to be made, the NYPD takes over.

  10. MacG22

    MacG22 CLM

    Feb 28, 2008
    1. I assumed renting, I guess incorrectly. Because it would seem that if there was a training course in NY State that, like California, they would have a way to rent them there. Otherwise how can they train? I've done some training in California and the schools were always on their own private property. They always rented/loaned/etc. But in general it seems that is a bad business model to be a handgun trainer for the public if you live in NY. At least if you model includes residents of other states.

    2. Yeah, the folks I spoke with that outlined the situation in New York for me were all very strict about this being about a traveler, who's destination was NOT NYC that was stranded due to airline cancellation of connections.

    They were also very clear that if NYC was the destination, or if there was any reason to go on their radar, that the consequences were both swift and severe.

    Drew, let's say you moved out of NYC. No longer a permit holder. You move to Tennessee. You going to attend a competition in the Carolinas or some such. You book the flight, check your gun according to standards, and make the first leg to Chicago. In Chicago you're told that the flights have been changed due to weather and you'll be making a connection in NYC. Once in NYC your flight is cancelled. It's 11PM, but you'll be on the first flight out in the morning. (This is almost an exact situation that happened to me, just with different cities but with the stranding in NYC--I did not have a firearm at the time so it was actually kind of a fun interruption).

    What would you do when you got to NYC?
  11. IndyGunFreak


    Jan 26, 2001
    Great read.. I'm not much of a traveler, but you've posted some good and handy info. I think most of us have read about what happened to the gun owner who was detained for 3mo before it was finally worked out. Sounds like Terminal Storage is the best idea if you think there is any possibility you'll be stopped in NYC/NJ.

  12. skyparker

    skyparker SkyMan

    Nov 3, 2009
    Branson, MO
    The wife and I are headed to Florida on Allegiant Air in a couple of weeks and are planning to take 3 autos in a Pelican/Storm type case. (1 CCW, 1 bug, 1 for a range to train) I'm taking just a few mags worth of SD ammo and purchasing range ammo there.

    I'll take advantage of the OP's great tips and follow his steps of firearm/ammo prep, case prep and securing all to my baggage.

    Has anyone had experience or issues flying with more than one firearm in a case? If asked "why?" by an agent or TSA, what would be an appropriate response?
  13. MacG22

    MacG22 CLM

    Feb 28, 2008

    Sometimes I fly with two. But never more than two... just because I didn't have need.

    A few considerations:

    1. Every airline has a different standard. In general, you can take one to four in one case, total (sometimes in multiple cases, depending on the airline). That's just a general outline... be sure to read and have a copy for you airline (never been on it).

    2. When I carried two I was never asked why, but if so I would probably throw out something like "pistol sports competition". Sure, it's not the truth. And I understand it's none of their business (you don't have to answer the question even if they ask), however I personally see a lot of value in putting the gate agent at ease. They don't need to know your theories about personal defense and concealed carry. They don't need to know anything, really. But I have found that the more at ease they are, the quicker you get through and the less hassle you have.

    Just my opinion and there are certainly many sides to the issue of "what to tell them above and beyond the law and their regulations".

    Have a good trip, and if you're able, please post an account of your travel experience here when you get back.
  14. skyparker

    skyparker SkyMan

    Nov 3, 2009
    Branson, MO
    ALLEGIANT AIR WARNING... I found this out today and what a big surprise I got. The following is the entire firearm script copied straight from the Allegiant Air website at

    Allegiant allows firearms to be transported using the following guidelines:
    1. All customers must declare their firearm at time of check-in.
    2. Firearms and ammunition cannot be carried on-board the aircraft and are accepted in checked baggage only.
    3. All firearms must be unloaded
    4. Firearms must be in a locked case and must be able to withstand normal baggage handling without damaging the firearm or other baggage.
    5. Small-arms ammunition intended for sport or hunting are accepted only if carried in a sturdy checked bag.
    6. Ammunition must be in the manufactures original container, or equivalent fiber, wood, or metal container specifically designed to carry ammunition. This carrier must provide sufficient cartridge separation.
    7. The following are per person limitations on ammunition:
      1. No more than three hundred (300) rounds of pistol (rim fire) ammunition.
      2. No more than one hundred twenty (120) rounds of rifle (center fire) ammunition.
      3. No more than one hundred fifty (150) shotgun shells.
      4. The total gross weight of the ammunition cannot exceed eleven (11) pounds per passenger.
      5. One handgun case (with only 1 unloaded handgun inside) will be accepted for each paying passenger.
      6. One shotgun case (with maximum 2 unloaded shotguns inside) will be accepted for each paying passenger.
      7. One rifle case (with maximum 2 unloaded rifles inside) will be accepted for each paying passenger.

    I previously wrote in an earlier post that I desired to take 3 firearms in one Pelican/Storm type case. So, I called Allegiant today to confirm.
    OK, per the rule, I was ready to comply and only take two guns using two gun cases with one gun in each case. And, per the rule, my wife and I are both paying passengers. This is where they got me... I was informed by Allegiant they only allow ONE handgun in ONE case in ONE CHECKED BAG.

    :shocked: WOW, unless somebody sees something I don't, the entire rule script does not mention, infer or interpret anything like that. How are we supposed to interpret "paying passengers" to really mean "paid checked baggage?" Not all passengers in this day and time with high bag fees check more than 1 bag. This seems somewhat misleading to say the least.[FONT=&quot] [/FONT] Needless to say, I'm not too happy about it. :steamed:

    Well, I'm so glad I I called didn't make a lot of sense to have 2 guns in 2 cases in 1 checked bag, but I was ready to comply. It just chaps me that it's not stated that way.

    Had I not called and went ahead and followed the letter of their law, my wife and I would have had a mess on our hands with a extra gun or two at the ticket counter. It probably would not have even mattered if I had their firearm rules printed in hand. The only way we can take two guns now is to pay an extra $40plus to check another bag.

    What I learned today: Read the airlines rules, then call them for the interpretation.

    Oh..and fly Southwest Airlines... No baggage fees and they allow multiple firearms to be transported inside one hard-sided case.
  15. hikerpaddler


    Mar 1, 2001
    Yes, cable locks are acceptable. Yes, if you're not bright enough to secure your case with one properly, you can have a problem. And I've never found a cable lock that wasn't sufficient.

  16. MacG22

    MacG22 CLM

    Feb 28, 2008

    So which gun will you be taking? Is it worth it for you to take the extra $40 for the bag (for both legs) to have the other pistol with you?

    Good thing you made the call. However, had you have had a a copy of their regs from their site (One per passenger) and made it to the gate, I bet you would have been able to speak with a manager and been fine. The last thing they want at the gate is a scene, and if they caused you to miss your flight because they worded their regs poorly they would open themselves up to any manner of administrative issues. Especially if your wife holds up her cell phone camera and says something like, "Honey, we're gonna be youtube stars."

    Really, though, in my experience and with all the folks I've compared notes with on this stuff if you have TSA regs and the airline regs on you and you follow it to the letter, you'll get on the plane regardless of what else they try to interpret at the gate. However, I always hold to the rule that it's best not the be the test case and I won't provoke any situations. I carry the rules because, if I accidentally find myself in some situation I can simply point out that I was following everything to the letter of their law.
  17. skyparker

    skyparker SkyMan

    Nov 3, 2009
    Branson, MO
    MacG22, 1++ on your great comments and I agree with all.

    I'm still kicking it around about springing for another checked bag. If not, will probably take my EDC, holster, its alternate barrel and some SD ammo. Have been intending to try some of the ranges in FL but also wanted to have more than one gun.

    If I have any further dialog with Allegiant, I'll be sure to post it. Will add that they were nothing but nice, courteous and helpful as they could be to me even as I pressed the issue on their regs being so ambiguous and unclear. But, they held their ground.

    Thanks again for all your help in this thread.
  18. MacG22

    MacG22 CLM

    Feb 28, 2008
    So I wanted to post a quick update. I'm sitting in the airport now typing on my laptop.

    I'm headed to a place that honors my permit but I've never carried while flying there... mostly because I was always stopped and worked in Chicago or New York before I get there.

    I will say it seems to be getting easier and easier to fly out of Denver with a firearm. Not to say they're not doing their job... they are. I was asked probably 7 times if everything was prepared properly and if it was locked properly. The gate agent was kind and helpful. In fact, when she handed the "firearm" tag to her assistant she stated very clearly, "this goes inside, not outside".

    On the way to secondary screening the airline employee, a man in his fifties, asked "so what do you carry..." which led to a pleasant conversation. TSA screeners had me stand outside their pod area and screened it, confirmed it was properly locked (by asking and observing) but never had me unlock everything or create a hassle. In fact, when they were finished they told me everything was great and they were friendly and smiling. I was impressed and would certainly give TSA Denver a glowing review (this is not my first positive experience here).

    I think this goes to show that the more folks that check a legal and properly prepared firearm--incident free--the easier it will get. I actually think having a lot of folks fly with their firearm and to do it RIGHT (no issues, no scenes) the easier it will get for us. It may not be as effective as donating to the NRA or calling your representatives, etc, but maybe it is. I tend to believe that "organic changes" to law and policy are generally more durable and effective than ones that are forced.

    I will also add that I was gracious and profession the whole time. I was a parrot, too. Every time they asked if something was done I would say "Yes sir/mam. I have prepared everything to your airline's and TSA's requirements" and you're more than welcome to inspect it". I wasn't fake or false with them at all. I find that is often counter productive. But I was warm and disarming and that seems to go a long way.

    Again, great experience and I felt the Denver TSA and Airline employees did a great job interacting with me as well as following their procedures and protocols.

    All in all, it added about 10 minutes to my standard airline routine.
  19. steveksux

    steveksux Massive Member

    Jul 12, 2007
    Regarding connection in NYC, what about high capacity magazine restrictions/hollow points? Aren't they illegal there? If so, is that covered under travellers through, or no?

  20. Ditto for McCarran in Las Vegas and Dulles in VA. Never a problem. Always cheerful and cooperative. It may just be my imagination but it seems to me that both TSA and airline staff are easier to deal with in gun friendly states.

    Maybe they just get more travelers with firearms than gun hostile states.