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Pthfndr
08-08-2005, 10:21 PM
Got my quarterly FFL newsletter from the ATF today and there was a seperate page (page 5) headed by the logo of the Department of Homeland Security / TSA outlining their requirements for transporting firearms on airplanes.

For those of you who do/will fly with firearms, it might be worth printing out and taking with you. Here's the url: http://www.atf.gov/firearms/newsletter/0805fflnewsletter.pdf

buford1
08-09-2005, 12:04 AM
I went back east three weeks ago. When leaving La it was a mess. I did get a good laugh and so did some other people waiting while they inspected our luggage. The Tsa agent couldn't figure out how to open my S&w 500. I offered to assist, I was instructed that I could not enter the inspection area. So this moron looks down the barrel of my 500 to assure it wasn't loaded. Well the reaction of the people watching this was lets say unbelivable. These people are pitiful and woely under trained.

bwiese
08-09-2005, 2:09 PM
Jjust got back from vacation in E. Oregon - flew San Jose <-> Boise. I only flew with 3 wheelguns this time (transferred 1 Ruger to my cousin) and didn't take any ARs for once. The wheelguns were in a thick briefcase-sized Starlite case. Flew Alaska/Horizon airline.

The AlaskaAir agent girl needed a bit of guidance from me, and I wouldn't give her the combo for my locks. She was puzzled that I wouldn't unlock the case for TSA. But I was very friendly and just insisted we do things my way so no one committed accidental firearms crimes. I did hand the TSA guy the combo on a 3x5" card for the case and he took it back and inspected it. (I know this is not quite kosher but it was a big line at a big airport and at least only the TSA guy had combo.)

When departing Boise, I was instructed by agent girl to take my bags (separate garment bag had ammo) to 'oversize/special luggage' area manned by TSA. He had me unlock my case, took a quick look, and locked it back up. Dunno what he was looking for as he just peeked inside the gun rugs and couldn't've seen if wheelguns loaded or not. He wasn't worried about declared ammo in my garment bag and sent that on.

He did swab the Starlite case, scanned the swab, and did have some kinda nitrate reading. I told him these were lightly cleaned fired guns so that shouldn't be surprising. He called his manager over, who quickly signed an 'override' slip in a binder and all was good. (Elapsed time: 2.5 min for whole process.)

In both cases my request for my gun case to be held at luggage office for claim w/photo ID was apparently ignored - and it came down the chute like any other piece of luggage.


Bill Wiese
San Jose

MadMex
08-12-2005, 4:18 AM
Originally posted by bwiese:
The AlaskaAir agent girl needed a bit of guidance from me, and I wouldn't give her the combo for my locks. She was puzzled that I wouldn't unlock the case for TSA. But I was very friendly and just insisted we do things my way so no one committed accidental firearms crimes. I did hand the TSA guy the combo on a 3x5" card for the case and he took it back and inspected it. (I know this is not quite kosher but it was a big line at a big airport and at least only the TSA guy had combo.)


Bill,

Please elaborate on the protocol used (refusal to open, use of the card, etc). Without understanding the context of the situation, I’m not tracking with why / how this was less risky or more secure for the firearms.

Thanks.

bwiese
08-12-2005, 10:09 AM
Originally posted by MadMex:
Please elaborate on the protocol used (refusal to open, use of the card, etc). Without understanding the context of the situation, I’m not tracking with why/ how this was less risky or more secure for the firearms.

I'm not complaining about risk or security for firearms, I'm just complaining about TSA not following their own rules (+ FAA, ATF, CA state law, etc.)

According to the various rules (TSA, FAA, etc.) I've seen, you're really supposed to retain possession of key and/or combination of gun cases yourself and not give key/combo to intermediary (airline counter agent) - or even the TSA guy! That is, it's supposed to stay locked, the TSA guy comes out, you go to quiet area & unlock it, he inspects it, locks it up, etc.

In practice this is difficult! Lotsa airpots don't have private areas to consult w/TSA, or they want TSA doing actual screening process done in a secure back area where you can't get to. I had to push to not give girl the combo herself, so she called the TSA guy. He came out, looked puzzled at my explanation, and at that point I said "screw it" to myself and just gave him the card w/combo.

I do not like opening/unlocking cases with handguns or assault weapons inside a California airport. I am not sure what jurisdiction covers the guns in general traveller area - state/local or Fed law. Handguns and AWs are supposed to be locked all the time - so even when I slip in the red 'Firearms Declared' tag in the gun case, I don't fully unlock it (just unlatch one side of cover and slip tag in thru crack).

Off to the Big Reno Show...

Bill W
San Jose

maxicon
08-12-2005, 11:38 AM
Originally posted by bwiese:
In practice this is difficult! Lotsa airpots don't have private areas to consult w/TSA, or they want TSA doing actual screening process done in a secure back area where you can't get to. I had to push to not give girl the combo herself, so she called the TSA guy. He came out, looked puzzled at my explanation, and at that point I said "screw it" to myself and just gave him the card w/combo.

This is often the path of least resistance. I fly with guns regularly, and every airport handles it differently, IME.

My policy is to do what they ask. I always end up demonstrating the unloaded status to a ticket agent, and have never been with the TSA folks when they inspect them. I use a Zero locking aluminum case stashed inside another suitcase, and I'll just leave it unlocked for the TSA guys, who then spin the combo when they're done.

As Bill says, it's not to the letter of the law, but it's futile to argue with them. I used to point it out to them, but I gave up a few years back, as it only confuses them.

My rule is: Be polite, be patient, be friendly. Never a problem so far, and nothing's ever gone missing from the bags, including knives and flashlights.

max

bwiese
08-12-2005, 1:02 PM
Originally posted by maxicon:
My policy is to do what they ask. I always end up demonstrating the unloaded status to a ticket agent, and have never been with the TSA folks when they inspect them. I use a Zero locking aluminum case stashed inside another suitcase, and I'll just leave it unlocked for the TSA guys, who then spin the combo when they're done.


Yes the TSA is good about relocking cases.

I always refuse to open cases for airline folks now; the requirement is that you attest that it's unloaded and sign the red-orange card, not that you prove that it's unloaded. Whenever I've had such a request from the gate girls, I ask 'em, "Would you know what this looks like, loaded vs unloaded? Let's not make the natives restless with me pulling out big guns. I of course don't want to take any legal risk of transporting a loaded gun and have cleared and/or broken it down when I packed it."
That stops that request and it's on to TSA land.

Now, I'm REALLY off to Reno show..

TTYL all and mebbe see some of y'all there...

Bill W
San Jose

MadMex
08-12-2005, 1:54 PM
Originally posted by bwiese:
Yes the TSA is good about relocking cases.


I once had TSA tell me that the inspection of my handgun in their secret no-peeking zone went fine, and I could proceed through screening. Once at the gate I was paged to return back to the handgun screening area. The TSA inadvertently locked one of my pad locks with out locking the case. I let them know that I was thankful that they called me back, and requested a spot at the front of the passenger screening line (which was granted).

Lesson: When possible, wait and watch your case travel on the conveyor until it’s out of sight.

E__WOK
08-12-2005, 4:19 PM
Each airline has their own rules. I believe I flew with United. Their regs say the ammo and gun must be in a separate locked case.

PatrickM.
08-12-2005, 4:46 PM
last time i was traveling with a firearm, i went into a special room and i took the firearm out of the case, i racked the slide and showed that the firearm was clear and unloaded then i showed the guard my empty magazines. after i packed the gun back into its case and locked it, the TSA agent tagged the case with a red safe tag and taped around the locks, then he placed it in my bag. we then walked together to the baggage check area and checked in the bag.

after it was all said and done this whole process only took 20 mins and i was off to get on my plane.

for once the TSA did not take forever to do something!!!

Patrick M.