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A tale of Guns, the TSA, and humanity...

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by lel4866, Mar 27, 2013.

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  1. lel4866

    lel4866 Member

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    A month ago, I took my BT99 to San Diego from Raleigh on United. I have a hard sided case that the gun came with, but it has no locks. I added a TSA approved strap that went through the handle. When I went to the airport in Raleigh, I walked up to the counter and declared the gun. They had me open it and place a paper in the case certifying the gun was unloaded. Then they told me to go down to the TSA office. The TSA agent swabbed the case, and then took it. It arrived in San Diego with no problem.

    Today, I flew back to Raleigh via American Airlines. When I got to the American Airlines counter, the agent looked at the strap and said she couldn't allow it. I told her I had no problem flying the gun to San Diego. She called her supervisor, who called a TSA agent. The TSA agent was clearly unsure of what to do. Eventually, he asked the ticket agent if she felt comfortable. The ticket agent said no. I asked the TSA agent if I could split the gun apart, so the stock receiver went in one bag, and the barrel remained in the case. He said that there was no problem, in that case, with the barrel, because parts could fly without restriction, but he couldn't allow the stock/receiver/trigger.

    He then made a suggestion. He said if I could afford to buy a TSA approved carry-on, with a TSA approved lock, I could put the receiver in there and he would take it. He even walked me over to a luggage store in the airport and helped me pick out a proper case and lock. Bottom line, it cost me $110 including tax, and I now have an extra carry on.

    So, how do I feel about this? Well, it's annoying that they would allow it one way but not the other. OTOH, I knew it was kind of a jury rigged solution. But, I think by being friendly to everyone involved, the TSA agent, an older fellow named Mr. Hermann, I think, was as helpful as he could be while trying to take into account the wishes of the ticket agent, the TSA rules, and my dilemma. However, there's no denying that in the end, the obvious fear of guns by the American ticket agent caused the problem. You could see the look of fear on her face. This is the thing we need to combat as gun owners.
     
  2. PatMiles

    PatMiles Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
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    2,855
    Amazing, why should it have cost you an extra $110.00 to get your gun home. TSA are untrained people who couldn't find their a$$ with two hands and a flashlight. These are the very same folks who are supposed to be the first line of defense keeping us safe in the air. What a joke!

    Pat
     
  3. superxjeff

    superxjeff Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
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    3,781
    What we need to combat as gun owners is stupidity.
    I am glad you feel all warm and fuzzy about taking it up the a$%. Jeff
     
  4. skeet_man

    skeet_man Well-Known Member

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    10,533
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    A locked gun cases is a TSA requirement. TSA locks (which you're TSA strap has) are expressly prohibited. They should have never allowed you to check your gun when you left Raleigh. In reality, the agent in Raleigh didn't know what they were doing, and the agent in san diego did.
     
  5. sptnclays

    sptnclays Member

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    Location:
    Grosse pointe farms Mi
    The tsa website states a hard case with two locks. You were lucky on the outbound flight.
    Of all travelers we are a very small number so you can't expect every airline employee to know what they are doing. Or expect to be disappointed.
    You are dealing with two sets of rules. One for the airline and one for the govt. I have had in the past far more problems with the tsa. After 911 for about 4 years I traveled with a copy of the tsa rules printed off of their website. One guy didn't know they had a website. previous job, "you want fries with that?"
     
  6. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    Jul 17, 2007
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    6,266
    I don't fly with firearms alot but have done it about 6 times since 9/11. I use a rugged hard side two gun breakdown case from Cabelas nad never had an issue getting through the check-in process. It really helps to be squared away. Also as pointed out above, remain polite - it helps a bunch.

    Actually my 'luck' with the airline folks has been better when I was traveling with guns than when not checking a shooter. One really neat agent in SLC even upgraded my friend and I and gave us passes to the crown room. (He was a bird hunter too) They treated my GSP Rusty like he was some kind of royalty - he actually was in my mind.

    The whole world isn't against us because we are a gun owners. There are good folks in all walks of life and it helps to remember that. Being an asshole will change all that in a millisecond.
     
  7. PAR8HED

    PAR8HED Member

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    I've flown all over with my shotgun. The procedures at each airport are different, no consistency at all. Add to that, ticket agents for the most part have absolutely no clue on what to do and what is proper. Two things I've learned, buy the strongest case you can with the biggest most secure lock you can find. Second, be prepared for a hassle every time you check in for a flight. If you go thru without an issue, enjoy the moment.

    HJH
     
  8. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    Back around 2004 or 2005 I was flying to a shoot. At the time I didn't have a combo set so was traveling with a BT-99 and a Browning XT. I had an Americase double-gun case. The thing was massive, barely made the 50 pound limit for a single piece of luggage.

    I always tried to be polite with the airline and TSA staff when traveling with firearms, and was careful not to joke around or do anything that would potentially cause them to want to create issues for me. A lot of "yes sir", "no sir".

    I was standing at the TSA inspection table, my gun case had just gone thru the X-Ray machine and the TSA guy had it on the table and was opening it to inspect the contents. The TSA guy was a younger guy. He opened up my gun case, noticed that it contained two guns, then looked up at me and said:

    "Going to visit your ex-wife?", and then just started laughing.

    I've never had an issue traveling with my firearms. Seems like as long as you pack them properly in the right kind of case there's no issue. I haven't flown with my guns for a few years, but when I did I always found I got better treatment than without. At O'Hare after you checked in your luggage you had to stand around while it went thru the TSA inspection (it doesn't work that way these days, but back then they did it next to the check-in desks). If you had a gun the airline rep walked you over to the TSA table and you moved right to the front of the line, no waiting.

    Scott
     
  9. timb99

    timb99 Well-Known Member

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    I called TSA the last time I traveled with a gun. You CAN use TSA locks or non TSA locks.

    The guy on the phone suggested "most gun owners prefer to use non-TSA locks."
     
  10. senorric

    senorric Member

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    TSA agents make up the rules as they go along. Think about who we trust our flying safety to! Scary!
     
  11. pedagogue

    pedagogue Member

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    I download the TSA rules and carry the with me. When going to Alaska with a handgun it save me alot of hassel at Newark airport. The lady ticket agent knew the laws better than the TSA agent and was my advocate. jack melitsky
     
  12. Fast Oil

    Fast Oil TS Member

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    Prior to 911 I was flying to the Grand out of Ft. Lauderdale. I had my Rem.1100 in a case broken down. Upon inspection by the Delta agent, she saw the bolt closed on the receiver and wanted me to "open it so she could see it was unloaded". (the barrel was not on it) I asked if she wanted it done in a private area and she said no do it here. So I held the gun up and pulled the bolt back. You should have seen the looks and the noise in the ticket area went silent. It was kinda funny when it was over.
     
  13. waverider

    waverider Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    FlaLagarto,

    The X-ray/screening machine picked up the primer compound and maybe the powder in the spare shells. I often fly home with a few boxes of ammo and I once saw the monitor when the bag with the shells went through. The was a picture of an orange and red explosion with the word Explosive in front of it. So they pulled the bag and went through it verifing that the shells were in factory boxes, then packed everything back up and sent it on.

    There are seems to be 3 sets of rules. The Department of Transportation, TSA and the airlines. DOThe DoT (Para-phrasing, going from memory and I have not rechecked lately): The firearm must be unloaded, in a hard sided locked case that only you have the key and/or combination. This means that TSA locks are not acceptable. You can have up to 25 lbs of ammo in each checked bag, it must be in a containers designed for the transportation of ammo.

    Airlines: They can make more restrictive rules than the Dot. Example is some airlines insist that there be no ammo with the gun. Most only allow 10 or 12 lbs of ammo.

    TSA I guess writes their own rules if they are saying that TSA locks are ok. I have had friends that have had problems with cases that only had a combination lock in the middle.

    In defense of the TSA training, I would guess that their training is more in line of finding explosives in large enough quantity to bring down an airplane and knives that would allow some one to terrorize the crew. But it was just in the news that the will be allowing small knives.

    Jason
     
  14. 1964_Superposed

    1964_Superposed TS Member

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    I travel with firearms regularly and have to agree with everyone that there is NO consistency, for example AA departing DFW usually has you sign the statement, place the card in the hard case, then has a person in a red vest walk you to TSA where they may just accept it, or may open and inspect. Sometimes they do it, sometimes they ask you to handle the firearm.

    Departing FLL the AA ticket agent just has you sign the card and place inside, then they take the case or bag with hard case inside as normal luggage without a TSA visit.

    I regularly use TSA locks and no one has questioned it, although I agree that contradicts a literal reading of the TSA rules.

    Lucky for me I have never had any big issues or delays.

    - Tim
     
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