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View Full Version : Flying with CA Legal Rifle / TSA Info Needed


Bete Noire
03-31-2011, 9:51 AM
I'm flying within the state for some training and need some information regarding traveling with my rifle. I have read both the Southwest Airlines and TSA information regarding storage and transport but have the following question that I hope someone can answer. I have the bullet button on the rifle, but do I leave an empty 10rd mag in the weapon or leave the magwell empty as the TSA information seems to imply?

Untamed1972
03-31-2011, 10:24 AM
as long as the mag is empty, even though inserted in the rifle, you should be fine. Perhaps leave the bolt locked open with dustcover open so if they visually inspect they can see that's it's unloaded. After all....not all rifles have a detatchable mag.

Paper Boy
03-31-2011, 11:00 AM
but do I leave an empty 10rd mag in the weapon or leave the magwell empty as the TSA information seems to imply?


When ever I fly with my AR I just put the ten rounder in and take the upper and lower apart never had anyone question it. Plus if its apart they can look down and see the top of the empty mag, in all my times flying I have yet to have someone actually pull it out of the foam cutout in my pelican case to check and see if its unloaded.

Write Winger
03-31-2011, 11:08 AM
I concur. Empty 10rd mag in well (might be best to not use a 10/30) so it looks to be a "not detachable mag", and separate the upper and lower receiver.

Hell, go over the top and put a cable lock thru the dust cover lol. Can never be too careful in this stupid state.

Chester
03-31-2011, 6:34 PM
I'm flying within the state for some training and need some information regarding traveling with my rifle. I have read both the Southwest Airlines and TSA information regarding storage and transport but have the following question that I hope someone can answer. I have the bullet button on the rifle, but do I leave an empty 10rd mag in the weapon or leave the magwell empty as the TSA information seems to imply?

The restriction is specifically about DE-tachable magazines, not A-tachable magazines, so it doesn't matter one way or the other if you're transporting an AR with an empty mag well. I had a short "conversation" with a BLM ranger about this when he decided to inspect my rifle in the desert a few months ago when he tried to give me **** for my full featured AR laying on the table without a magazine in it. I could see he KNEW I was right even before he said anything, but just had to say SOMETHING about my 100% Ca. compliant AR-15.

To be perfectly honest, I really don't think the TSA gives a crap about whether your rifle is California legal or not, and the ticket agents certainly have never seemed to care. I've flown out of state and back into state a couple times now and carry unassembled 30 round magazines in the same case and NEVER had any issues.

So long as you're compliant with the airline's rules for transporting firearms, you should be good to go with no more than having to wait an extra 10 minutes for a TSA agent to swab your case (what the hell for, I don't know... it's not like there isn't explosive residue in there. Oddly enough, it's never popped even with a case full of uncleaned, recently fired guns)

Still, just in case, I always carry the Calguns flowchart with me and have the CGF phone number stored in my phone's contact list.

Beyond that, I think you'll find (believe it or not) that flying with firearms, even a full featured, scary looking AR-15 in California is a big huge non-event.

In the end, do what you're most comfortable with at first and then go from there when you pack for future trips. Also, don't ever relinquish your key and make sure to ask for a supervisor and/or an airline representative if you end up getting into a pissing match with some TSA goon over it. Nobody needs access to your firearms without you there to unlock the case, supervise, and relock the case.

Wildeman_13
03-31-2011, 6:44 PM
Besides through the X-ray machine, TSA has never seen any of my firearms that I have flown with. I have always shown the firearms to the ticket agent at check in. I sign the form and lock the case and walk it to the TSA screeners. I have flown with no-mag in a BB-equiped AR a few times and never had an issue. I do now subscribe to the thought of throwing an empty 10-rounder in there for extra safety, but am pretty confident that it is a non-issue to TSA.

DesertGunner
03-31-2011, 7:11 PM
Everyone who works for TSA is dumber than a box of rocks. Don't confuse them by asking questions about the law. Just follow their rules RE locks and stickers and you'll be fine.

CTallerico
03-31-2011, 7:46 PM
From my experience flying with guns, the ticket agent is the one that does the check-in and the ones I've dealt with really didn't check anything but the lock. Once everything is locked up they walk you to a TSA screener and you hand them the box and away it goes...Not once has TSA even asked me what was in the box let alone open it to inspect it.

xmustanguyx
03-31-2011, 7:52 PM
Flying from Idaho to California by way of Spokane....the TSA's had me rack the slide and inspected the chamber and that was all. This was Pre 9-11 so I'm sure much has changed. Man I wish I had a picture of those guns at that time because they ended up being on CA banned list. Turlock PD told me to just bring them in so they could "make sure" I was in compliance but the gun shop said get them out of calfornia and that's what I did. For the record I really don't think TSA's are even knowledgeable enough to ascertain whether a firearm is legal or CA compliant! Hell even some LE's can't do that. That's just California's laws being so...well you know!

hoffmang
03-31-2011, 8:15 PM
When I fly w/ BB AR's I tend to leave the magazine well empty. When I otherwise transport by car I put an empty 10 rounder in to simplify explaining things to a CA LEO. TSA/Airlines know NOTHING about California firearms law...

-Gene