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View Full Version : words I don't like to say: "you lost my checked bag containing a declared firearm"


trashman
08-19-2010, 1:34 PM
Sigh....so today, flying back from Burbank on a business trip, I checked a bag and declared a firearm -- a beautiful S&W 27-2 (in nickel, with presentation case and tools/papers) that I had PPT'd earlier this month.

I debated fedexing the gun back to myself, but figured I'd give the 'ol TSA process a shot, since the last time I flew with a gun was pre-9/11.

First, the airline guys were great - no issues at the ticket counter. Per the TSA procedure the gun was locked in a modern handgun case (with a non-TSA friendly lock) and placed inside my unlocked luggage.

After a few minutes I was summoned by TSA and asked for the combo -- I insisted that I preferred to open the case myself for them. TSA was not happy but agreed....so I was escorted back to the secure area and unlocked my gun (they didn't check if it was loaded -- seemed more interested in the padding of the case).

So I got to San Jose an hour later and .... no luggage. I let the airline know 1) the luggage was missing and 2) it contained a checked firearm. The airline agent made sure to point out to me that nobody who handles luggage would know (except TSA) that there was a firearm inside. They did call Burbank and were able to physically locate the luggage - it hadn't made it on to my plane. Of course, in the process of doing so the agent let the employee on the phone in Burbank know there *was* a gun in my bag, so....sheesh.

Anyway, expecting the call here in this afternoon once the next flight lands.

--Neill

djleisure
08-19-2010, 1:54 PM
Yikes! Keep us posted...

Droc101
08-19-2010, 2:08 PM
Wow. TSA Fail

Big Jake
08-19-2010, 2:13 PM
The several times I have flown with a gun in checked baggage I have had no problems, however, I buy extra insurance just in case. My close friend's brother in law is an FBI agent and when he took a family vacation this Summer (To Washington D.C. of all places!) he was allowed to carry on board his flight. Apparently FBI agents are allowed to carry their firearms on planes. How cool would that be?

safewaysecurity
08-19-2010, 2:26 PM
The several times I have flown with a gun in checked baggage I have had no problems, however, I buy extra insurance just in case. My close friend's brother in law is an FBI agent and when he took a family vacation this Summer (To Washington D.C. of all places!) he was allowed to carry on board his flight. Apparently FBI agents are allowed to carry their firearms on planes. How cool would that be?

Lucky....

sd_shooter
08-19-2010, 3:54 PM
The several times I have flown with a gun in checked baggage I have had no problems, however, I buy extra insurance just in case. My close friend's brother in law is an FBI agent and when he took a family vacation this Summer (To Washington D.C. of all places!) he was allowed to carry on board his flight. Apparently FBI agents are allowed to carry their firearms on planes. How cool would that be?

Some people are more equal than others....

Booshanky
08-19-2010, 3:58 PM
I've always figured that declaring a firearm would be a pretty good way to ensure that your bag doesn't get lost. That's too bad to hear man.

trashman
08-19-2010, 4:00 PM
And, phew...the luggage and gun made it safely to San Jose. It does appear TSA went through my suitcase one more time just for good measure :/....

Anyway , watch the revolver pics thread for some photo evidence later.

--neill

high_revs
08-19-2010, 4:30 PM
I've always figured that declaring a firearm would be a pretty good way to ensure that your bag doesn't get lost. That's too bad to hear man.

i used to work for airlines so i would've checked that bag in. and i worked in the baggage service too (not ramp, the people OP talked to when he realized his bag didn't make destination).

in any way shape or form, no special tags or markings are made outside of the bag to identify it having a firearm. i can't recall exactly, but there might be something in his passenger record declaring it (i'd imagine there would be as proof entered by the agent).

glad to hear OP got his bag and piece back! :)

socalblue
08-19-2010, 4:31 PM
Some people are more equal than others....

No, just means he flies frequently on FBI business. The process changes a couple of years ago (Much more of a PITA now days - electronic notice from the agency in advance, etc).

2 hour class (Don't shoot down or toward the front office 'cause it results in BAD things). Must be flying on agency business, 24 hour electronic advance notice from the agency (Used to be a simple letter to carry). The Feds & local agencies have a VERY few LEO's with permanent clearance.

joedogboy
08-19-2010, 5:03 PM
Glad it made it home safely.

trashman
08-19-2010, 6:27 PM
I've always figured that declaring a firearm would be a pretty good way to ensure that your bag doesn't get lost.

This has always been my operating assumption...but as with everything else in this brave new world it just seems more and more like Brazil (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088846/).

Anyway, thanks guys for letting me fret a little while this beauty (pic below) was recovered -- it's pain only fellow gunnies can understand! In this case thankfully only temporarily.

cheers,
--Neill

PS - more pix over in the Revolver Pr0n thread (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=4811060&postcount=517).

http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee126/northslope/nickel%2027-2%206-inch/nickel_27-208.jpg

Doheny
08-19-2010, 6:32 PM
Apparently FBI agents are allowed to carry their firearms on planes. How cool would that be?

Federal agents are allowed to carry on commercial flights, as well as state/Local LEOs who complete TSA's Law Enforcement Officers Flying Armed training program (http://www.tsa.gov/lawenforcement/programs/traveling_with_guns.shtm).

My wife has taken the training and can/has carried on commercial flights. The training is a no-brainer apparently (she passed.) ;)

psango
08-19-2010, 6:35 PM
Yes it is a PITA, and then you have states like Hawaii that don't even recognize an on duty out of state LEO's rights to carry a firearm. Try traveling on LE business to the peoples republic Kauai.

Ron-Solo
08-19-2010, 7:17 PM
Yes it is a PITA, and then you have states like Hawaii that don't even recognize an on duty out of state LEO's rights to carry a firearm. Try traveling on LE business to the peoples republic Kauai.

I flew to Texas once on Department business right after 9/11 (October) and it was a PITA but the flight crew couldn't do enough for me in their opinion. Airport security was the big issue, and it was pre-TSA. There were still guard guys running around with M16's.

And since LEOSA, the People's Republik of Kauai can't say squat. Active LE can carry in all 50 states per federal law and retired can also, if they meet the federal guidelines and qualifications.

Lyte-
08-19-2010, 7:39 PM
United tried to act like they lost my rifle case when I was returning from Texas once.

The second I mentioned we were going to have make a couple calls to the alphabet boys since they lost an assult weapon the case suddenly appeared....

duckman1
08-19-2010, 7:51 PM
I came back from Namibia w/o a couple of rifles. TSA at Dallas enjoyed fondeling them a little to long to get them on the flight. Spent an uneasy night at home waiting for the guns to show up the next day.

glockman19
08-19-2010, 8:10 PM
When I fly it's usually to Florida. I take a red-eye. I Federal Express Overnight Priority Delivery. I get my package before 10am. Reverse the process comming home.

stitchnicklas
08-19-2010, 8:14 PM
tsa are a bunch of frickin idiots

Sajedene
08-19-2010, 8:26 PM
Glad you got your baby back. That must have been quite an ordeal I can't even imagine :\ especially knowing I might have to make a very similar trip someday.

Colt-45
08-19-2010, 8:33 PM
The several times I have flown with a gun in checked baggage I have had no problems, however, I buy extra insurance just in case. My close friend's brother in law is an FBI agent and when he took a family vacation this Summer (To Washington D.C. of all places!) he was allowed to carry on board his flight. Apparently FBI agents are allowed to carry their firearms on planes. How cool would that be?

I'd feel more secure knowing someone on board was armed.:D

MrPlutonium
08-19-2010, 8:35 PM
I've had the same problem over at Burbank. The TSA absolutely insisted that I give them the key and that the screening area was off limits to me. Eventually they relented but not without wasting 10 minutes of quality magazine reading time. Flying out of Phoenix however, you get escorted to the front of the line basically and they make sure you see the bag all every step of the way until it's in the hands of the airline.

Nodda Duma
08-19-2010, 8:48 PM
NCIS agents carry on board too.

23 Blast
08-19-2010, 9:19 PM
Boy that's a pretty gun, trashman. Good to hear she made it home safely!

duckman1
08-20-2010, 7:33 AM
TSA is not allowed to open your gun case without you present. Do not ever give them the key or combination unless you will be present when the case is opened. You will not be allowed to touch the firearm or the case while they are inspecting it. My experience has been to remove the locks at their direction and stand to the side until they are finished. I then relock the case keep the key and they hand carry the case to the loading area.

smle-man
08-20-2010, 8:50 AM
On a flight from Pittsburgh PA to Burbank my Marlin 983 took a side journey to San Diego. They then sent it to Las Vegas, then Denver, then back to Burbank two days later. It showed up via taxi cab at my house at about 1 a.m. My suitcase was the first one off the plane but the gun case was a no-show. I wondered if an anti gun baggage handler sent it on the trip intentionally.

psango
08-20-2010, 9:35 AM
I flew to Texas once on Department business right after 9/11 (October) and it was a PITA but the flight crew couldn't do enough for me in their opinion. Airport security was the big issue, and it was pre-TSA. There were still guard guys running around with M16's.

And since LEOSA, the People's Republik of Kauai can't say squat. Active LE can carry in all 50 states per federal law and retired can also, if they meet the federal guidelines and qualifications.

http://www.honolulupd.org/info/gun134-9.htm

This is what HPD is still posting on their website (one of the few places to find info on Hawaii Gun laws, the AG office has very little info.posted) They HPD did have a statement posted that HR218 did not exempt out of state LEO'S active or retired from first obtaining a Hawaii CCW but that was recently removed from the website.

Reference: HRS 134-9

No person shall carry concealed or unconcealed on the person a pistol or revolver without being licensed to do so under this section or compliance with section 134-5(c) or 134-6.

Note: There is no compact agreement between Hawaii and other states that would permit police officers on official assignment in Hawaii to be armed and exempt from the provisions of the Hawaii Revised Statutes relating to firearms.

Lyte-
08-20-2010, 10:44 AM
TSA is not allowed to open your gun case without you present. Do not ever give them the key or combination unless you will be present when the case is opened. You will not be allowed to touch the firearm or the case while they are inspecting it. My experience has been to remove the locks at their direction and stand to the side until they are finished. I then relock the case keep the key and they hand carry the case to the loading area.

When flying out of Texas I have never had to escort my bag to TSA.

I do how ever have to open my luggage and locked case for the Booking agent and in most cases rack the slide for them to prove that it is not loaded. None of them have ever handled my weapon.

@ Lax I do the same thing for the booking agent and then I have to escort the luggage/ rife case to the TSA check point and watch them screen it. If they have no questions then I go on my way but they also have never handled my guns if they have a question I unlock the cases and handle the weapon for them.

glbtrottr
08-20-2010, 1:00 PM
TSA=Total Sukk Arse

yelohamr
08-20-2010, 1:21 PM
At least you got to watch TSA inspect your bag. When I flew from San Diego to KC in June, I declared my handgun, which was in a locked container inside my hard-sided locked luggage. Ticket agent told me to wait nearby, for about 15 minutes, in case TSA wanted to open my bag.
After 15 minutes I let the agent know I was going to the gate. Twenty minutes later I was paged, to see the gate agent. I identified myself and he asked for the combination to my bag. I told him "no". He said TSA wanted to open my bag and needed the combination. I told him and showed him Southwest's information about firearms, which says not to give the key or combination to anyone. He called for a supervisor and she showed up and got an attitude when I wouldn't give her the combination either. She called TSA and I talked to them and told them I would give them the combination in person and I wanted to watch them inspect.
I was told that I couldn't watch and if I wanted my gun to arrive in KC I had to give up the combination. After I got his name and I.D. number, I gave him the combination.

Flying from KC was a breeze. Declared my gun, took the bag about 30 feet to the TSA inspection area, unlocked the bag, showed them the locked gun case and didn't have to open it. Locked the bag and arrived in SD the same time my gun did.

den888
08-20-2010, 2:21 PM
Glad it worked out !

DaveFJ80
08-20-2010, 3:51 PM
That's my worst fear of hearing when I'm traveling between CA & TX and carrying taking my Glock with me. Glad to hear everything worked out.


The airline agent made sure to point out to me that nobody who handles luggage would know (except TSA) that there was a firearm inside.

When I fly AA, half the time TSA will put an orange tag on my check baggage letting people know that there is a firearm in my suitcase. I wish they wouldn't, but I've see others with orange tags on their suitcases too (just about always see an orange tag on the military folks' bags who are traveling on the plane).

psango
08-21-2010, 4:32 AM
A good explanation of the problem with TSA might be: The people who work for TSA are the same people who ran the audio-visual aids when you were in high school. Remember "this is the overhead projector and no-one can touch it but me, now stand back". :) (to quote Lewis Black)

AresGear
08-21-2010, 7:06 AM
"Note: There is no compact agreement between Hawaii and other states that would permit police officers on official assignment in Hawaii to be armed and exempt from the provisions of the Hawaii Revised Statutes relating to firearms. "

That's because there doesn't have to be. HR218 covers LEOs, and Hawaii can't say sh*t about it.

maddoggie13
08-21-2010, 7:10 AM
How many free miles did your firearms get???

thetaxman
08-21-2010, 8:12 AM
I travel a lot and the huge difference in TSA activity at the difference airports is puzzling as I would have thought there should be some consistent standards. One org, one set of rules - clearly not.

trashman
08-21-2010, 8:18 AM
How many free miles did your firearms get???

Technically zero, although I did get a $50 voucher from the airline...

--Neill

smle-man
08-21-2010, 8:28 AM
My first experience with airlines and guns was when I flew home from Germany on a PCS; I had a Remington Rand 1911A1 in my footlocker. I was on PanAM and went through custom at Kennedy to change planes. Bringing the pistol home wasn't an issue but bringing it to NYC was. I got an escort to the airline ticket counter by a NYC cop (nice guy) and a warning not to bring a gun to NYC again. Then there was the time I brought an M1 home from back east. The counter agent asaked if it was unloaded. She then demanded that I show her. The sound of the action opening turned lots of heads and closing it brought a cop over. This was pre 9 11 so he was more courious than alarmed. The ticket lady glared at me like it was my fault people got stirred up!

trashman
08-21-2010, 10:43 AM
The ticket lady glared at me like it was my fault people got stirred up!

I had a similar experience in the late 90's at Washington National airport...I was checking (among other things) a stainless Colt King Cobra and the ticket agent insisted I show her it was unloaded -- so I had to swing the cylinder open and lift the gun up to the ticket counter (barrel pointed down in my direction) so she could peer at it. That brought conversation to a standstill in the line behind me...

--Neill