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transporting high grade guns/ airlines?

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by smsnyder, Jul 15, 2007.

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  1. smsnyder

    smsnyder Well-Known Member

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    any suggestions on transporting high grade guns on the airlines? Iwant to make sue i recelieve gun.
     
  2. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    smsnyder -

    I'll give you my experiences, which I believe are fairly significant over the past couple of years. For the past four years I've flown at least 3 times per year with my firearms, to various locations (Tampa, San Antonio, Las Vegas primarily). I've never had a problem, but when I do it won't be unexpected.

    I travel with my Kolar in its Americase, no additional packaging. Some say to pack it in a box or do something else to obscure the Kolar label or otherwise try to not make it look like a guncase. My thinking is that someone interested in stealing it will be smart enough to figure out what it is even if I put it inside a box or put a label on the case that says "Surveying Equipment".

    Generally speaking you can't check-in curbside or use the kiosks that some airlines have, you need to stand in line and talk to an agent (the good news is that with the kiosks the lines are now much shorter). Tell the agent you are declaring a firearm and they will give you a form/card to fill out (flight number, name, date) which is basically a declaration that your firearm is not loaded. A copy goes in the case and then they will usually ask you to lock the case.

    From there you go to TSA (sometime the agent takes you there personally, other times they tell you to let the TSA person know you have a firearm). TSA, for the past couple of years, has asked that the case be locked before they take it from you. They ask you to stand by while they run it thru the x-ray machine. If they need to open it for inspection they will ask you for the key. In the past couple of years they have never asked to open my case, although right after 9/11 they almost always opened it even after it was x-rayed. Assuming all goes well there they will put the TSA sticker on it and either put it on the baggage belt to go behind the wall or call for a porter to do an oversize baggage pickup (this is the case at O'Hare).

    The key here is to keep an eye on your case until it goes behind the wall. If TSA calls for baggage pickup they will just set it to the side in a public area. It's basically available to anyone who wants it. I stay until the porter picks the bag up and follow him to the oversize baggage area and watch it go behind the wall.

    I figure if it disappears before it goes behind the wall there was probably something I could have done to prevent it so I keep an eye on it. After it goes behind the wall it's out of my control.

    When you get to your destination do not delay in getting to the baggage carousel. In most cases your case will come out with the rest of the luggage, so I like to be there before the luggage starts coming out. Only one time (again, just after 9/11) did the airline ever route my bag to the baggage office and I had to go pick it up there.

    I try to fly direct (easy since I fly from Chicago) to cut-down on the number of times the bag needs to be handled.

    I also have the gun insured (via the ATA insurance company, Sportsman's I think). It would suck big-time to lose my gun but at least it would get replaced.

    I have not found flying with a firearm difficult at all. There's the risk of it not turning up at the other end, but I figure that's why I pay for insurance.

    Scott
     
  3. jnoemanh

    jnoemanh TS Member

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    Many airlines have the agent at the counter check you in. Just read the simple regs and follow them. Hard-sided case, locked, you have the key or combination. You can also get TSA aproved locks (WalMart) for which the TSA has a master key. That's a good idea in case they want to look in the case, when you're not present, they won't cut the lock.

    I've had them check the case without looking inside, and I've had them search the case.

    As far as security, they pay more attention to checked guns than they do other luggage.

    I've never had any hassle, but that might depend where you're flying. Into FSD there were probably 100 gun cases on the flight, so nobody thought anything about them. However out of CLT we had the only two guns on the flight, still no hassle.

    Airlines will throw cases around like all other luggage. The cheapo molded cases with foam padding are available for $20 or so, and have worked fine for me. They're ugly but tough. I'd hate to use my nice leather browning case - it'd look pretty shabby after a few trips.
     
  4. Joe Potosky

    Joe Potosky Well-Known Member

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    http://www.losttarget.com/firearmlaws.html#FLYING
     
  5. jnoemanh

    jnoemanh TS Member

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    "http://www.losttarget.com/firearmlaws.html#FLYING"

    TSA regs allow up to 11# of ammnition in the same case as the gun. Delta, and maybe others, do not allow ammo in with the gun. You can transport up to 11# in your checked luggage. Be sure to check with your particular airline.
     
  6. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    jnoemanh -

    I think you comment about the TSA-approved locks is inaccurate. According to the rules the only person who is supposed to have a key to the gun case is the owner, so TSA locks would not be acceptable. That's not to say they won't allow, because it seems that TSA at each airport interprets/implements the rules as they see fit, but that's not correct per the rules.

    Also, I don't believe that the airline can put your firearm on the plane without it being checked by TSA. All of the airports I fly in/out of have TSA in the check-in area and they x-ray all bags (firearms or otherwise) after they have been tagged by the airline. When I flew into Tampa/St. Pete (not Tampa International) they had TSA in the back and when I checked my firearm they asked me if I would like to go in the back and watch them do the inspection.

    Scott
     
  7. Baber

    Baber TS Member

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    I fly with my Perazzi's 2-4 times a year. I always buy the extra baggage insurance from the airline. It makes sure they know that they are on the hook. The typical gate agent does not know what this is so I have started carrying the paperwork from my last flight with me to show them how. Its a hassle for the gate agent but make them do it. The maximum that they are on the hook is $5k and most airlines give you $2500± so for a buck a hundred you can buy the extra. Most airlines will bring you the gun and require you to submit the claim check. Many will not. Delta is famous for sending them down the belt. Southwest however has always required me to claim them. The best thing is to use a good case. I use a Rhino but others are good. Buy a decent lock. Something that you can't get bolt cutters into. American makes some great models. READ the TSA regulations. Some airports will take you to TSA for the xray. You must give them the case locked and if they want to get into it then give them the key and watch them relock it.

    Although you can take a limited amount of ammo with you its typically not worth the hassle so don't bother. If you must ship ammo send it via UPS.

    TB
     
  8. jnoemanh

    jnoemanh TS Member

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    Scott -

    It is TSA themselves who suggest the use of TSA master keyed locks, and they're widely available. Here's the link.

    http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/locks.shtm

    I did have a Delta, not TSA employee accept my cased gun, which he tagged and put on the conveyor belt. If it was x-rayed, it was done later and I was not aware of it, nor did I see a TSA employee. They could have been elsewhere, out of my sight.
     
  9. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    jnoemanh -

    Take a look at the link I pasted above. It deals specifically with firearms, whereas your link was about the type of locks that are TSA approved. It doesn't say anything about using them on a firearm case.

    In the link (above) regarding firearms it says:

    We recommend that you provide the key or combination to the security officer if he or she needs to open the container. You should remain present during screening to take the key back after the container is cleared. If you are not present and the security officer must open the container, we or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact you. If we can’t contact you, the container will not be placed on the plane. Federal regulations prohibit unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) on aircraft.

    It doesn't say specifically that you can't use TSA-approve locks, it's implied when it talks about providing the key/combination to the TSA agent. Also keep in mind that if your case has a combo lock (like an Americase) then there is no way that anyone besides you could have the combination - that's why TSA asks you to stay around while they screen, and if they can't contact you they won't transport the case.

    Scott
     
  10. jnoemanh

    jnoemanh TS Member

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    Scott -

    I can see where you're coming from, however there is apparently no clear answer. At least one TSA employee inspected my case which had locks clearly marked as TSA mastered. In addition many gun-related sites encourage TSA locks, and many manufacturers promote them, for ex -

    "As far as locks go, current TSA regs require gun cases to be locked. But TSA may want to inspect the firearm. Depending on the setup of your airport, you may or may not get the opportunity to be there when the inspection takes place. This is because this entire inspection process, including the X-ray machines, etc. did not exist before 9/11. Therefore, some airports had to cram inspection stations and related screening equipment in sometimes obscure and out-of-the-way places. Sometimes those places are areas where you cannot go. So, buy TSA-approved locks and lock your gun cases. TSA has a way to open such locks without damaging them."

    http://www.outdoorsdirectory.com/akforum/akhunting/56036.htm

    and -

    http://www.safeskieslocks.com/store/camouflage-luggage-locks-c-10.html
     
  11. lc

    lc TS Member

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    Everything mentioned above is accurate.

    Some other hints, Call ahead and make sure the airlines that your traveling on will transport guns. If you have to change planes try to get a flight where there is not a quick turnaround to board the other plane. Two of my guns didn't make the turnover, not enough time. I get stopped when I have choke tubes in the gun case,(they think they are shotgun shells) pack them in your check on luggage.
     
  12. slick50

    slick50 Member

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    Beeeeee Carefullllllllll.... Last spring a fellow shooter from Vermont had a brand new high grade (3 weeks old) K-80 stolen in route to Southwest Grand. He followed all the TSA and airline guidelines and it never made it to Phoenix. Get all the insurance you can. Some folks from our area are now shipping their guns to the shoot location via mail or ups or fed-ex.
     
  13. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    Slick -

    Tell your friend to give the airport folks in San Antonio, Texas a call. That's where the Southwest Grand is held - it's no wonder his gun didn't make it to Phoenix!

    Scott
     
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