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Flying to Florida and taking a handgun


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I'm going to Florida and plant to take my handgun in checked baggage. I have a HCP and will be flying direct from Nashville to Orlando.

I've never carried a handgun in checked baggage, but it seems relatively straight forward as I read the Southwest Airlines policy. I have two locking hard side cases, one for the gun and another for the ammo that I will put inside my checked luggage.  I just wanted to see if anyone had any first hand experience or advice. Obviously, it would be unloaded when I go up to the counter to declare it.

I'll admit that I'm not comfortable putting a gun into a checked bag. I'm afraid it won't make it to the other end!

Edited by jgradyc
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5 minutes ago, jgradyc said:

I'm going to Florida and plant to take my handgun in checked baggage. I have a HCP and will be flying direct from Nashville to Orlando.

I've never carried a handgun in checked baggage, but it seems relatively straight forward as I read the Southwest Airlines policy. I have two locking hard side cases, one for the gun and another for the ammo that I will put inside my checked luggage.  I just wanted to see if anyone had any first hand experience or advice. Obviously, it would be unloaded when I go up to the counter to declare it.

I'll admit that I'm not comfortable putting a gun into a checked bag. I'm afraid it won't make it to the other end!

Last time I did it the process was like this. I took the gun in a lockable hard case to the ticket counter. I had to open the case and show the agent that it was unloaded. He had me lock the case and I kept the key. He pasted a FIREARM tag on the case and took it. I showed ID at the other end and they handed the case to me.

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I will only speak to my experience with multiple trips with Delta.  Your signing of the affidavit is verification of an unloaded gun...no use to pull gun out and show to someone that has no knowledge of firearms. The orange affidavit is then placed on top of container.  Ammo can be locked in same box with gun.  Ammo should be in factory box, or can be in loaded mags covered by mag holster....not in gun of course. Ammo does not have to be in a locked box. Firearm box locked with owner in possession of keys or combo.  This box can then be placed in larger suitcase with TSA locks.  Nothing can be placed on the outside of container that would indicate firearm inside. 

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From what I understand, losing a firearm carries bigger consequences than losing a regular piece of luggage. So much so, that I've heard of people that travel with expensive jewelry or other expensive items in their checked luggage also check a flare gun for added insurance. Could be BS, but that's what I've heard.

Anyway, I've flown Southwest a bunch with a gun. You can have the ammo in the same container as the gun as long as it is in an appropriate container. I bought a reusable ammo container because I fly a lot and ammo boxes get worn out.

I'm sure you've researched it enough to understand procedure. It adds 5-10 minutes tops to your journey thru the airport. Keep that in mind when planning your airport arrival time. 

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The policy has been changed and they no longer make you show them the gun is empty. The last few times the ticket agent didn't even look at the gun. She just asked if it was locked and unloaded. 

You'll be fine. It's an easy process. Just don't forget to declare it or you could get in trouble.

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Can you take live amno on a plane? I was thinking ammo had to be shipped ground.

After doing some reading you can take ammo on a plane.

Edited by RED333
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Yes, you can. It just has to be stored in either an ammo box or the manufacturer's box and in checked baggage. That box can then be kept in the same locked container as the firearm, but doesn't have to be. It looks like maybe it could also be kept loaded into a magazine as long as the magazine is not in the firearm, but I'm not certain of that. I've always just unloaded everything and kept it separate.

See #8 about small arms ammo: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=&SID=0e643a4dc787c2bebb8e96698e046b29&mc=true&n=pt49.2.175&r=PART&ty=HTML - se49.2.175_110#se49.2.175_110

Don't use a TSA lock on your gun case/lockbox. Only you should have the key or combination.

Edited by monkeylizard
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Magazine loaded and in a mag holster is OK......essentially the ammo cannot be exposed

7 hours ago, monkeylizard said:

 

Don't use a TSA lock on your gun case/lockbox. Only you should have the key or combination.

Above......have seen several magazine articles state - incorrectly - to use TSA lock on firearm box.  It is OK on the luggage the locked firearm box may be in.  I have my cell phone # on the outside of the firearm box should any questions arise.

Edited by chances R
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If possible store the firearm with the slide locked back...  I've had some places ask to visually see the firearm is unloaded, having the magazine out and the slide locked back results in me not having to handle the firearm.  Otherwise it's a simple process.

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23 hours ago, jgradyc said:

I was thinking I'd put a ziplock through the barrel like they do at gun shows. 

I use the barrel locks that come with new guns as an added precaution to prevent any misunderstanding with ignorant employees. I also don't leave loaded magazines in the lock box because I've heard of ignorant employees causing a stink, even though most airlines allow it.

Sometimes it's best to prepare too much rather than too little for these types of situations. 

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I've travelled with pistols many times, mostly on Southwest and Delta.  Never had an issue. As stated earlier, firearms must be declared when checking in. Stored in locked, hard side case. It's best to state "I have a firearm to declare", not "I have a gun"! Most of the time they don't ask to check that the firearm is unloaded. On occasion, they will ask. One time the agent asked to check the gun, picked up my LCP from the case and fondled the gun with her finger on the trigger! Seems she was looking for a gun, and liked the LCP. After giving her a polite education on basic gun safety, I was on my way. You can check up to 11 pounds of ammo. Just make sure ammo is not packed loose ($1500 fine). 

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Just returned from Nashville - Vegas on SWA. Vegas customer rep tried to tell me I had to have a TSA lock on the gun case. Showed him SWA policy that said ONLY the customer could have access to the gun case, and putting a TSA lock on it kinda eliminated that. After his initial confusion, he still insisted it should be a TSA lock, but he let me go on.

 

I e-mailed SWA later, giving my reservation # (so they can identify him), and said that he was very nice, polite and largely competent, but he's giving out wrong information. They responded, confirming that he was wrong, and said he would be counseled.


BTW, first time I've done it this way in checked luggage. Always took a small metal gun "safe" before that has combination lock and a small cable, that I can loop through the handle frame that's inside the suitcase, so that even if they get in the suitcase, they can't remove the gun case without a cable cutter. this time I put 3 loaded magazines in a factory plastic gun case; padlocked it; and ran the cable through the padlock hasp. Eazy-peazy !! Worked like a charm.

 

Also, confirming what others said, they didn't even ask to view it being empty. Showed it to them - "lock it up" !. Okey-dokey.....

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In the past they would make you pull the gun out right there in front of everyone in the airport and chamber check it. That was extremely stupid and I'm glad they don't make us do that anymore.

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6 minutes ago, battleop said:

I'm surprised they don't require a chamber flag of some sorts.  That way the can verify it's empty without having to pick it up and scaring the libatards.

Too technical, you have to know something about guns. They don't fit in revos either. :)

- OS

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