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Hank Zudd
05-03-2005, 8:48 PM
flying out of oakland on united. understand pistol has to be in a hard sided locked case. Is the plastic case it came in ok, if it is hinged & I can lock it? No ammo going. Pistol case will be transported in locked soft sided luggage. Will check & declare at counter. I'll download & print copies of the current regs. off THR concerning this. What am I missing? thanks in advance bill- pm

Hank Zudd
05-03-2005, 8:48 PM
flying out of oakland on united. understand pistol has to be in a hard sided locked case. Is the plastic case it came in ok, if it is hinged & I can lock it? No ammo going. Pistol case will be transported in locked soft sided luggage. Will check & declare at counter. I'll download & print copies of the current regs. off THR concerning this. What am I missing? thanks in advance bill- pm

Mssr. Eleganté
05-03-2005, 9:50 PM
Make sure you call United and ask them if they have any other requirements. The locked plastic case should be fine inside another piece of checked luggage.

You might think about seperating the slide and frame before you put the gun into the case. It's not required, but could be less scarey for the ticket counter person when they make you open the case for inspection. Some non-gun people freak out at the site of a real handgun.

Since you are required to lock the case and keep the key after letting the counter person check to see that the gun is unloaded, you might want to tape a little note onto the case with your cell-phone number and instructions to call you if there are any problems. This is for the TSA guys who don't like finding heavy locked cases in checked luggage. Don't know if it would help, but it wouldn't hurt.

Rumpled
05-03-2005, 11:00 PM
Having current TSA regs as you do from THR is key - as is having your airline's (United) rules as well.
This way you will be able to deal with the uninformed better.
Sounds like you are prepared. Remember, you are the only one who can have the key, don't let the federal idiots convince you otherwise - ask to see supervisors and show them their own regs.

ivanimal
05-04-2005, 9:04 AM
Just a note for longuns transporting in hard cases. I usually tape a 8 1/2 x 11 printed note saying delicate optical equipment on them. This serves as a fragile notice and also throws off the person interested in your gun. If your handgun is to be shipped seperate you may want to think of something to label on it like fecal testing equip. or some such nonsense. http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

maxicon
05-04-2005, 9:05 AM
I recently flew with 3 handguns (Southwest this time), and I do it several times a year. We were chatting, and the counter agent asked "Why do you need so many guns where you're going?" I answered "Family reunion...", and she laughed.

Here are my recommendations.

- Go to the web site for the airline you're flying on, search on firearms, and print out the page describing what the rules are. I've never needed this yet, but it's good to have.

- Review and print the TSA FAQ: http://tsa-7.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/tsa.cfg/php/enduser/std_alp.php

- Plan on an extra 15-20 minutes for the inspection. Sometimes it takes more if they're clueless.

- Locked hardside case - any plastic case will do, including the one the gun came in, as long as it's lockable. I used to put a bit of padding (cloth or something) in a factory case to keep the gun from rattling around after getting some scuffs on the finish of a gun this way. This goes in your regular baggage. I usually carry 3-4 handguns, so I keep them in soft cases in a Zero aluminum case that goes in a big suitcase, padded with clothes and stuff. Remember you'll need to take it out and repack it at the counter, so plan your padding accordingly - I had my top layers in paper grocery bags so I could take them out and replace them easily. I've never disassembled a gun. I also have to watch the weight of the big suitcase, as it runs close to the limit of 50 lbs when fully loaded. It can cost extra if you go over.

- No loaded mags (or guns, of course). Some agents want to see all mags to verify they're unloaded, some don't.

- I open each case, show them the empty mag well, lock back the slide and show the empty chamber, then drop the slide and thumb the hammer back down (for semis) or open the cylinder and show the empty chambers (for revolvers). Wait for them to acknowledge the empty status at each step, and watch your muzzle direction, as always.

- Ammo is only allowed in factory boxes (what I use) or boxes designed for carrying ammo. I put a piece of tape on the flaps since a box of ammo opened up once a few years back. Even loose bulk packs like the Walmart 9mm 100 round boxes are OK. Limit is 11 lbs at SW; I had 10.5 lbs last time...

- Every airport and every airline handles it a bit differently. At San Jose, the agent asked me to leave the combo lock unlocked for the TSA agents (they locked it after they were done). At Tucson, the agent said lock it and sit over there for 10 minutes, and we'll call you if TSA needs to open it (they didn't). Both legs, TSA opened the bag and put a sticker on the claim tag. I've never been present when the TSA opens the bags. Sometimes, they call and ask for the combo, and once the ticket agent asked for the key back when I used plastic boxes, then brought it back 10 minutes later. I always go with whatever they want to do on this, since it's a losing proposition to argue with them on minor points of order.

- Most of all, be polite and pleasant. Pick your arguments carefully, unless you don't mind missing your flight...

It's really easy, as long as you know the rules.

max

bwiese
05-04-2005, 10:07 AM
Maxicon's doing it right.

I also, before travelling, send myself a sealed 'letter of intent' stating I will be travelling to <destination> with firearm(s) and X number of hicap magazines, and will be returning home at a certain date. Just in case - but then y'all know I'm paranoid. May poss help limit questions on reentry to CA with hicap mags.

With handguns, I _DO_ put a cable lock thru the slide/barrel. So if viewed on X-Ray as 'safe', case is less likely to be opened for further inspection. My rifles are often broken down upper vs. lower, and bolt guns have the bolt removed. All this is readily visible via XRay etc.

When I travel with guns I put 'em in a separate hard case (Starlite or Pelican) - but that's because I have long gun(s). Never have travelled w/just a locked handgun in my bag.

The few times airline counter girl asks me to demonstrate guns are unloaded, I just ask her, "Would you even know what unloaded vs loaded looks like?" Blank stare, question defused. If question persists, I tell them that airline rule and Fed law just require me to _swear_ that they are unloaded, and that I'd not want to risk a Fed law violation - furthermore, the guns are broken down.

And since when I fly with guns at least one is a CA 'assault weapon' I do stick to the rules a bit more. Since CA airports are still state territory, state/local laws are still in effect.

Being paranoid, I can just see legal exposure unlocking an AR15 and FAL and a Glock at the airport check-in area on the advice of a counter girl.

So when, occasionally, counter agent asks me to open my case to inspect, I tell her that's illegal, as in CA handguns and 'assault weapons' must be transported in a locked case and can only be possessed unlocked with the consent of the property owner - and she can't speak for SJ Airport or "The People", its owners.

Usual response is "we do this all the time". To which my response simply is, "Does your management and does the SJ District Attorney know you're requesting your customers to commit multiple felonies?" After sometimes a second "Honestly, we do this all the time without problems", I then ask if she really knows California gun law, and whether she knows she's just made a self-incriminating statement.

After 'wide eyes' and 30 sec more of haggling, I offer her a way out. I've already slipped the "Firearms Declared" red tag into my still-locked guncase thru a small gap. [And any other bag having ammo - this is not legally required, but sane thing to do if bags get separated and questions are raised.]

I then say, "Here's what we do: here's a sealed envelope with combination. Give this, separately, to the TSA boys." [I used to hand over key separately.] I make the gate agent make a separate trip to deliver sealed envelope to TSA. And in the instructions I do tell 'em how to lock up the locks again should the TSA open case http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif On the instructions I do give 'em my cell phone # and request they also page me on PA if any questions.

While there's indeed more handwaving with what I do here, it seems to be closer to complying at least with CA law. Once the guns get into TSA booth, that's Federal LE territory.

When I'm in a free state (OR, ID, NV) less issues. Boise TSA guys were cool.

A couple of times I think my guns were not opened and the TSA just put their tag-seal on.

I _do_ travel with my AW reg paperwork just in case. If something happens in CA, this could stop any "is it legal" questions. If something gets hung up out of state, it could serve as 'proof of ownership', at least for AWs.

It's actually nice travelling with guns. When you have to change planes you can make a special request to verify that your luggage goes along with you - they don't complain if you're travelling with guns http://calguns.net/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Furthermore, if there's a long line at the gate and an agent sees you with "special" luggage, sometimes you get diverted to a shorter line for the 'special needs' folks.

As Maxicon said, I do all the above in a polite and friendly and non-pushy manner. When something's not going my way, I look puzzled and bemused and fall back on rules & law, still smiling.

Never had this take more than an extra 5+ minutes even though I leave an extra 30+ min period for "just in case".


Bill Wiese
San Jose

bwiese
05-04-2005, 10:11 AM
Rumpled...

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Rumpled wrote:
Remember, you are the only one who can have the key, don't let the federal idiots convince you otherwise - ask to see supervisors and show them their own regs. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is true. But with time pressing, etc. I'll let them (TSA) open/close the case and give them the combo. Odd for me to say, I know it's against 'rules', but less grief that way.
The case left my hands in a locked condition, anyway.

If I have more time next trip I will try to insist that I be present to unlock case for TSA.


Bill Wiese
San Jose

maxicon
05-04-2005, 2:58 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> When I travel with guns I put 'em in a separate hard case (Starlite or Pelican) - but that's because I have long gun(s). </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Do you have any issues with the size of your long gun cases?

I considered bringing a few long guns this time, but my Starlite case is larger than SW's maximum allowed total dimensions for checked bags, and their web site said it was an additional $50 charge, so I left them.

I'm thinking I'll ship them out ahead of time next time; partly to save dealing with the extra baggage.

bwiese
05-04-2005, 4:21 PM
Maxicon asks:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Do you have any issues with the size of your long gun cases? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

No. But I've only flown Alaska & Horizon Air with my guns. They had no problem with my 52" Starlight Case, and of course no issue w/my 38" (?) Pelican 1750 case.

Alaska/Horizon are pretty hunter friendly.


Bill Wiese
San Jose