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JamesY
02-03-2008, 10:03 AM
I am planning a trip out of state soon and would like to bring my registered AW and a couple of pistols. IIRC, I need a locked container, like a Pelican, to transport them on a plane. Here're my Qs...

-Has anyone ever had problems flying with their AWs/pistols before (I'm taking Southwest Airlines)?
-Do I need to bring my DOJ paperwork that proves they're registered to me?
-Do I have to account for all preban magazines I bring with me for both rifles and pistols?

Damn these CA laws... Makes you so damn paranoid:mad::mad::mad:

Shane916
02-03-2008, 10:12 AM
Holy crap don't try to bring them on the plane!!! Check them in!!

lol..

Serious note:

Yes you will need the necessary paperwork from the DOJ. Make copies so you can leave some with the gun and some on you just in case. You need a lockable case. Magazines you don't have to worry about.

http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/guns.html

CALI-gula
02-03-2008, 10:17 AM
I am planning a trip out of state soon and would like to bring my registered AW and a couple of pistols. IIRC, I need a locked container, like a Pelican, to transport them on a plane. Here're my Qs...

-Has anyone ever had problems flying with their AWs/pistols before (I'm taking Southwest Airlines)?

No, but I've heard others have - Southwest can be a pain because they don't inform their employees well on this issue, so decisions can be at the political views of the counter person/check in handlers. What you should do is print up their policies from their wesbite and take THAT with you when checking in. Check out the Southwest website for their information on "Sports Equipment" and/or "Firearms". And call a customer service rep ahead of time to confirm their website is current on those policies. Usually limited to either 5 handguns in one case or 2 rifles, and TSA's website outlines flying with firearms very well too.

Me? I always fly Continental; they have the most non-stop flights (for less likelihood of baggage "accidentally" getting removed from the plane in a lay-over airport) and Continental is NRA endorsed. I've never been treated poorly by Continental - you might even say that when they find out I have cargo check for firearms, they treat me BETTER! I get escorted to the front of the line, or sped through and removed from the regular line for TSA to check my bags, which is typically just like getting moved to the front of the line, as nobody is in the TSA line for checking bags unless they have firearms, special medical equipment, chemicals, etc., or other special goods.

-Do I need to bring my DOJ paperwork that proves they're registered to me?

No, but it would be wise to have as back-up documentation in case some power-tipper gets out of line about CA laws. If you have it, may as well keep A COPY of the original letter sent to you confirming it in your wallet.

Something else - you should put subsequent contact information IN you baggage with the guns just in case they do go wayward. Maybe not your home address, but cell-phone/work phone and work/office/business address. If lost, when they open the bags, there is your address (I do this with my regular luggage too, and on a trip to London once, when one bag was lost by Virgin (for some reason, the tag attached was illegible) upon opening the bag, they had my hotel in London as the destination address. The bag arrived within 2 hours after I got to my hotel.

Also, something I've always done with my handguns; upon the firearm check at the counter, after they check for unloaded and put the orange tag in the case with the guns, I lock it back up, and put the case in a large non-locking duffle-bag so it looks just like any other luggage and not anything special. You can't really do that with rifles, but then somebody is not going to be able to be too incospicuous in trying to sneek a Pelican sized rifle case off to the side and get out of the airport with it.

-Do I have to account for all preban magazines I bring with me for both rifles and pistols?

No; unlikely anyone at the airport will even make an observation of those, and there really isn't a way to do it anyway. Maybe for you own sake you could have a written schedule/record of what you have with you? Just as far as inventory? I'm not sure how best to approach this since I never had worries about it and never had troubles.

Damn these CA laws... Makes you so damn paranoid:mad::mad::mad:

JamesY
02-03-2008, 10:22 AM
Thanks for all the info, fellas! I'll make sure to bring all the paperwork from Southwest as well... Also, In case I can't fit all my magazines in, do you think they'll worry if I put a few empty mags in my carry on bags?

Shane916
02-03-2008, 10:29 AM
Also, In case I can't fit all my magazines in, do you think they'll worry if I put a few empty mags in my carry on bags?

Yes I do think they would. I don't see it in policies but I can't imagine they wouldn't get you some form of grief for it.

M. Sage
02-03-2008, 10:31 AM
I didn't fly with an AW, but don't see how it could be much different, so here's my experience of flying with an off-list rifle (somewhat scarier, actually):

They're going to beat the living crap out of whatever case you use, just a warning. They don't want any loose ammo, IIRC, in magazines is ok... I didn't fly with any ammo. If you fly out of SFO, and they pop your case open for inspection, they'll inspect your case where you can almost see how they're handling your gun. Don't go in with them to make sure of how they're handling your gear though, they kicked me out. It's against my nature for someone to handle my gun out of my sight. I like to chaperone.

The baggage handler who carried my case from check-in to security check then to the plane was pretty impressed with my Romy, though. At one point, he said "I like the Armalites Ok, they're good for ambush, but the Carbine... that's a great weapon." Dude... this isn't a conversation I want to have in the middle of SFO... :TFH:

The bad part was when I got to Houston, I waited and waited in the luggage area. The rest of my stuff came out, and I grabbed it and after waiting the "last bag" marker popped out. No rifle! Then I get paged to the baggage office. "Ooooh, crap." They had it waiting in there for me, but they had me really worried!

Also, In case I can't fit all my magazines in, do you think they'll worry if I put a few empty mags in my carry on bags?

!!!! Don't do that unless you like strip searches, and having your mags confiscated! They won't mind if it's in regular checked baggage, though.

Blackflag
02-03-2008, 10:43 AM
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong...but I seem to remember that you have to give them some way to unlock/open your case...otherwise, they have the right to break it open. Am I remembering that right?

I just know I'm pretty wary about checking firearms...and the people who are going to be going through it later. I wouldn't check anything that I'm really worried about 'losing'...

M. Sage
02-03-2008, 10:51 AM
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong...but I seem to remember that you have to give them some way to unlock/open your case...otherwise, they have the right to break it open. Am I remembering that right?

I just know I'm pretty wary about checking firearms...and the people who are going to be going through it later. I wouldn't check anything that I'm really worried about 'losing'...

No, you should only have one key (or a combo lock) and if they need to open it, they'll ask you to. When I checked my rifle, they had me stand by with the key for TSA. When TSA needed the case opened, I gave them a key. After they were done, the case got re-locked and the key went back in my pocket.

Theft aside, I have a very big problem with anybody, especially LE (TSA counts?) being able to unseal my rifle case in an airport without my consent or presence. You should, too. Bring one key. Only one. Don't let them open the case where you can't see at least part of what's going on.

At SFO on the trip out, they opened my case and went through it with a fine-toothed comb. In Houston, they just ran it through the scanner and gave me a thumbs-up.

CALI-gula
02-03-2008, 10:58 AM
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong...but I seem to remember that you have to give them some way to unlock/open your case...otherwise, they have the right to break it open. Am I remembering that right?

I just know I'm pretty wary about checking firearms...and the people who are going to be going through it later. I wouldn't check anything that I'm really worried about 'losing'...

No, wrong, but a common misconception. DO NOT GIVE ANYONE THE KEY TO YOUR LOCK! (Unless they page you back to the counter after you have checked your bags, and the TSA person asks for it to re-check the contents). Keep it with you. They will not break open your luggage without calling/paging you, unless they can not identify to whom the luggage belongs.

Also DO NOT PUT ANY FIREARM PARTS OR MAGAZINES IN YOUR CARRY ON - especially magazines. TSA would not appreciate that. In fact, when I was in another state's airport on the east coast, they had a plywood board near the metal-detector check next to the passenger line, for people to gawk at while waiting in line, with all the actual items that would be banned for carry-on screwed in place to this board - all sort of "evil" items - screwed to his board was a genuine Colt USGI 30 round AR mag. :(

.

M. Sage
02-03-2008, 11:12 AM
Exactly. When you declare your unloaded firearm(s), they should have you wait there until TSA either tells you that they need to open the case, or they tell you that they were able to screen it without your help.

gosparx
02-03-2008, 11:20 AM
I use to travel a lot on SWA with a large assortment of firearms. At the time they were all handguns and shotguns (hadn't yet caught that damned BRD) but I never really had any trouble.

Only once did the agent at the counter freak out when I opened the case (even after I had told here I needed to 'declare a number of firearms'., but as soon as her super showed up there was no problem. In fact he got all exited. Soon every security guard and SWA employee that could sneak away came to watch me go through the guns (you have to show that each is unloaded) Not that they were 'checking on me' they all just wanted to see the guns and ask lots of questions. (and not 'legal' questions but ones like, "WOW that's a big one, what's it?" or "how do you like your such-n-such, I've been thinking about getting one."

As far as showing that they are unloaded and safe, handguns can be done pretty inconspicuously, but with a full sized 12ga pump... it's a little harder to be inconspicuous. Although I do have to admit that one of my favorite things is racking back a 12ga in the middle of an airport. Even if someone has never actually seen a real gun, EVERYONE knows that sound. You've never seen so many heads turn. (even when I tried to do it all quite like, the same thing would still happen).

7644

The most I ever carried at one time was 10 handguns (in one case) and two shotguns (in a second case) with 11 pounds of ammo in a third case, along with all my clothes and other stuff. (for some reason "eleven" pounds is the magic allowable weight for ammo that can be checked!!??!!??)

Of course this was a couple of years ago and lots of rules have changed just in that short time so,like was suggested above, check everything out first, but it shouldn't be a problem.

Scarecrow Repair
02-03-2008, 11:35 AM
(for some reason "eleven" pounds is the magic allowable weight for ammo that can be checked!!??!!??)

The limit is probably 5 kilograms.

I have been told, but never tried it, that one way of guaranteeing a quick pass thru checkin and guaranteeing that no baggage clerk will rifle thru your unlocked luggage is to always travel with a nice small firearm ... even a $10 starter pistol. Might not work for nutty places like NYC. Probably not a good idea on overseas flights.

M. Sage
02-03-2008, 11:43 AM
gosparx: I didn't have to show my guns were unloaded. The rules I've read for most airlines don't say anything about showing unloaded. You have to declare that they're unloaded, though. Also, they're probably going to freak out if you open a gun case anywhere. TSA will open it for you. TSA wouldn't let me anywhere near my stuff when they were checking for loose ammo and contraband inside my case.

Scarecrow: Unlocked luggage? Small firearm? It's got to be locked, and in something hard-sided. I could see that if you put a handgun in a hard side locking suitcase with all the rest of your stuff for the trip, though.

CALI-gula
02-03-2008, 12:22 PM
gosparx: I didn't have to show my guns were unloaded. The rules I've read for most airlines don't say anything about showing unloaded. You have to declare that they're unloaded, though. Also, they're probably going to freak out if you open a gun case anywhere. TSA will open it for you. TSA wouldn't let me anywhere near my stuff when they were checking for loose ammo and contraband inside my case.

Scarecrow: Unlocked luggage? Small firearm? It's got to be locked, and in something hard-sided. I could see that if you put a handgun in a hard side locking suitcase with all the rest of your stuff for the trip, though.

Nope - every time I've flown with my guns, I've had to open the case, at the counter, and show they were unloaded. Not sure which airline you were with, but I've had to do this for 3 different airlines; Continental, SouthWest, and NorthWest. One time I had to do it twice for Continental - once for the counter check-in, and once when TSA called me back by page because the counter employee (even though she put the orange tag in the case) did not notify the people in the baggage x-ray check below the airport (before 9/11) that bags with guns were going to be coming through their secondary before-plane-load check. She went to lunch after checking my bags/guns and could not be reached at the counter when baggage check called them back on it.

Nobody has ever freaked out about opening the case at the counter and pulling out the guns in the middle of the airport, other than people in line behind me. Pre-9/11, I remember people in line actually taking a step back, and one lady here in CA actually stepping out of line to be sure she was on or to request a different flight/plane than mine albeit in a very loud screechy voice. In most cases, TSA, other security, and airline employees will stand behind you or around you to block the veiw of toher people in line so the freak-out doesn't happen. There wre times beofre 9/11 where I specifically asked the airline employee(s) standing next to me to stand behind me for that reason. It just makes things easier, smoother, less exciting.

Mostly it's not that way anymore since 9/11 - you get escorted to TSA's own check in for the verification they are unloaded/ check. TSA always asks me to unlock the case, open it, but to move back after opening; they look, then they ask me to open the firearms. TSA and other airline employees have never requested to handle my guns in any way, at any time - they ALWAYS asked me to be present and to handle them. It has never been any other way. Nobody but me has ever handled my guns when flying, not even touching them.

By they way - I never fly with ammo. I realize the 11 pound allowance. I just always ship to or buy at where I am going when I get there.

.

CALI-gula
02-03-2008, 12:29 PM
The best thing about flyinf with firearms? When non-gun oriented public folk or other passengers discover you are flying with firearms in your cargo bags, they nearly always ask;

"Do you have a permit for that?" or "Do you have to have a license to do that?"

Without pause, I always say "Yes; it's called the 2nd Amendment". :)

.

shonc99
02-03-2008, 12:59 PM
In the last 18 months I have flown on Southwest with firearms.

While each airline has different procedures, for Southwest, you just need to declare that you have a firearm at the check-in counter.

You can have a pistol inside your luggage, but it MUST be locked in a hard case- like the original plastic case. This is requirement for all firearms so if it's justg a pistol, locked hard case inside your luggage is fine.

For long guns the normal pelican type case is the standard. (due to size since the firearm has to be inside a locked hard shell container)

You will fill out a form which goes inside the locked case.

YOU reatain the key to the lock.

TSA will screen the container, and MAY want to look inside. YOU would then unlock, stand to the side while they inspect, ask questions etc.
YOU would then lock the container and take the key.

For a registered AW, you don't need any paperwork for Southwest's sake, only in case you were stopped by a LEO to/from the airport.

I have flown with boxes of parts, magazines, etc. etc. and aside from having a TSA screener open a box to inspect the items, there hasn't been a problem.


Again, each airline is different but the overall process is the same- check firearm, TSA inspects, you pick up from your specific airline luggage office.

They do not put the containers(s) with a firearm inside on the general carusel. They will usually ask for ID before giving your your luggage/ container.

HTH

gosparx
02-03-2008, 7:29 PM
I flew with my guns both before and after 9/11 and the type of security and the various security protocols were constantly in flux for years. It finally seems to have stabilized a little bit... sort of.

I always had to show that the guns were each and everyone unloaded, as well as any magazines. I always waited to be asked to open the case or pull a firearm out, and in fact neither the people at the counter nor the TSA people ever attempted to touch the firearms (in my presence), they had me do everything when dealing with the guns and the gun cases. When going through my regular luggage they had me step back and they dig through all my stuff looking for that bottle of shampoo that is larger than 3oz or the pocket knife I forgot I had in my backpack. (lost a couple of good knives that way)

I'm not sure how it works now, but the last time I flew out of Burbank (SWA) I showed all the weapons, closed the case, but did not latch the locks. I was told to leave them unlocked because TSA (or whoever) was going to do one more check and leave a little slip inside saying the case had been checked, then they would lock the case.

I was a little nervous walking away from an unlocked case full of thousands of dollars worth of firearms, but every time it worked out fine. The only hang up I had once was upon arrival at San Jose, where (like someone noted here before) my case didn't come up the conveyor like normal, but it turned out to be in the baggage office, not because it had firearms in it, but because someone thought it was too long to make it's way up the conveyor. (although I had flown with that same case to that same airport and the same conveyor probably a dozen times with no problems before)

Basically flying with firearms it's kind of a non-event. Well, except for racking back a 12ga to show it's unloaded while standing at the check-in counter... that kind of qualifies as an 'event', at least for everyone within hearing distance. Like I said before, I try to not be too obvious about it, but it's a big gun and a very distinctive sound... which is why a Rem 870 Marine Magnum 12ga pump is one of my weapons of choice for home defense. My reasoning being that if someone is in my house... that I don't want there, I don't even have to be in the same room to let them know they are not welcome and I mean business. (By that I mean they can hear the gun being racked back, not that I intend to go shooting blindly through walls)

Scarecrow Repair
02-03-2008, 7:47 PM
Scarecrow: Unlocked luggage? Small firearm? It's got to be locked, and in something hard-sided. I could see that if you put a handgun in a hard side locking suitcase with all the rest of your stuff for the trip, though.

That's what I meant. If there are no firearms, you have to leave it unlocked, or locked with a TSA-openable lock, and the TSA goons get to steal anything they want. But put a starter pistol inside and they require it be locked because they don't trust their own goons.

robairto
02-03-2008, 8:02 PM
Thanks for all the info, fellas! I'll make sure to bring all the paperwork from Southwest as well... Also, In case I can't fit all my magazines in, do you think they'll worry if I put a few empty mags in my carry on bags?

Why create an issue if you don't have to. Remember your magazines are large
objects and if the are metal then you're creating an issue for yourself. Take the high road and create as few issues as possible at the airport and the checkin. I've flown several times with guns (no AW) and most airport folks move you right through. How do they know you aren't LEO or military or whatever transporting the gun. I have several copies of my AW reg. laminated and on red copy paper that I leave in the Safe/gun case/ and my person when I travel with them. Bringing attention to a non issue would be short sighted. How many mags do you really need if you're out of state for a few days?? Just my .02

robairto
02-03-2008, 8:16 PM
gosparx: TSA will open it for you. TSA wouldn't let me anywhere near my stuff when they were checking for loose ammo and contraband inside my case.


TSA REGS::: easy to find:
You must declare all firearms to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
The firearm must be unloaded.
The firearm must be in a hard-sided container.
The container must be locked.
We recommend that you provide the key or combination to the security officer if he or she needs to open the container. You should remain present during screening to take the key back after the container is cleared. If you are not present and the security officer must open the container, we or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact you. If we can't contact you, the container will not be placed on the plane. Federal regulations prohibit unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) on aircraft.


Stay with the gun because they don't have the right to open/close it without you in their pressence. They could easily close and lock an empty case.

M. Sage
02-03-2008, 8:41 PM
Nope - every time I've flown with my guns, I've had to open the case, at the counter, and show they were unloaded.

Bizarre... I flew US Airways, and didn't open up at the counter to show that the guns were unloaded. Now that I think about it though, I do think I had to open it to put the orange tag inside.

99% of the people at the counter wouldn't know if you were showing them something loaded or empty anyway.

Robairto: TSA took my key and unlocked the case themselves. They also re-locked it, but I checked. I was present for the screening, but couldn't see exactly how he was handling my gear (which still has me upset). And that was only at the SFO end. When I left Texas, they didn't give a damn, just waved me through...

dfletcher
02-03-2008, 9:44 PM
I recently flew with a handgun and some hi cap mags. In general, I found the airline personnel helpful and knowledgable regarding what to do for check in and travel - proper locked case, check to ensure the gun is unloaded, brought me to TSA inspection point & filled out their little orange form, very uneventfull - but they knew absolutely nothing about the firearm itself. I could have shown them a full auto SBR and they would have only said "Is it unloaded?"

mooster
02-03-2008, 10:10 PM
Also, In case I can't fit all my magazines in, do you think they'll worry if I put a few empty mags in my carry on bags?

DON'T put your mags in your carry on! A friend was switching between civillian and military transport on his way home from Iraq (he's a Marine officer). Along the way, he had forgotten an unloaded mags in his carry on, which resulted in a long stay in a TSA back room.

I always check in a small quantity of ammo whenever I travel with guns. On a trip to Illinois I was shocked to find out that you have to have a permit to buy ammo in that state! There's no point in having a gun when there's no available ammo.

dfletcher
02-03-2008, 10:35 PM
DON'T put your mags in your carry on! A friend was switching between civillian and military transport on his way home from Iraq (he's a Marine officer). Along the way, he had forgotten an unloaded mags in his carry on, which resulted in a long stay in a TSA back room.

I always check in a small quantity of ammo whenever I travel with guns. On a trip to Illinois I was shocked to find out that you have to have a permit to buy ammo in that state! There's no point in having a gun when there's no available ammo.

And that brings up a good point, that knowing the laws of the state you're visiting is very important. I flew from CA to MA, drove back. But had I flown from Logan Airport and declared the handgun, I suppose I could have fallen prey to MA handgun possession laws. Have to admit I hadn't given that much thought.

bwiese
02-04-2008, 12:00 AM
I regularly fly with (reg'd) AWs + hicap mags.

It's not a vacation if you don't have any assault weapons! :)

I've flown with a FAL and an AR and a wheelgun, an AR10 and an AR and a Glock, etc., a couple of ARs, etc. (Along with hicap mags.) Hell, I find it weird to go on vacation (esp to family reunion/vacation in Oregon) without at least one AR and a handgun. [These trips also included an initial buncha 223/308/45 ammo to get me started.]

I usually fly on Alaska/Horizon but have also flown on Southwest, all with good results.

Before continuing, make sure guns are legal at your destination state/city.
I'd not fly with guns to East Coast - except maybe VA, FL, etc. Denver, CO has some weird AW laws, not sure if airport is in Denver proper or not.

Use a sturdy case - a Starlight case, a Hardigg Storm case or a Pelican. They will get abused. Don't carry ammo in the gun case. MAKE SURE THE FRIGGIN' GUN(S) ARE UNLOADED (duh).

Do carry a *copy* of your AW reg papers, just in case there's any problems in CA. (Original should be in safety deposit box or gunsafe.)

Keep the case locked up during transport and in airport - esp. in California due to AW status. If the TSA folks want the combination or wanna borrow the keys to the locks, fine - even if the FAA says it's a no-no, I'm perfectly willing to let lackeys of two government agencies fight things out themselves, and the TSA stuff is the gateway to your non-delayed flight. (You're obeying a law officer, you don't have to pick who's right.)

You must DECLARE your firearm at the airline counter. Don't mention "assault weapon". If the counter girl asks to inspect it herself, refuse: the rules are that you *certify* (under penalty of perjury when you sign the "Firearms Declared" tag) that the gun's unloaded. [If she gets really blonde and still insists, just ask her, "Honey, would you know what this gun looks like unloaded vs. loaded?" and wait for the blank stare.]

I insist on putting "Firearms Declared" tags in bags that contain just ammo and without guns - if bags get separated, makes the explanations easier when they find a bunch of ammo in your bag.

If you are travelling on a multileg flight, ensure you have sufficient time btwn legs such that your luggage won't get lost. After deplaning from one flight, go to gate clerk for next leg and ensure your baggage is gonna make it. If the counter girl gives bland assurances that it will be so, inform her that you're travelling with legal, *declared* firearms and it would behoove you, the girl and the airline not to have misdirected luggage circling the carousel at the wrong airport just waiting for Colombian luggage thieves. They may well radio down to the ramp and confirm the physical descriptions of your luggage suite. Sometimes you might even be upgraded to First Class :)

When you get off the plane at your destination, GO TO THE LUGGAGE CAROUSEL IMMEDIATELY. Don't pee, get coffee, chat with relatives, etc.: you wanna snag that gun case ASAP! Even if you've left instructions for the gun case to be held at the luggage office for pickup only w/confirmed ID, that exception may well not happen in the rush.

I find that travelling with guns on noncomplex flights to smaller airports likely *increases* better treatment of your luggage.

Oh - insurance: you can get some non-insurance protection called 'excess valuation coverage'. Last time I checked it went for $10/$1K coverage above $1200 base amount. It primarily covers against loss, but not much for damage (unless a bulldozer runs over it). Delicates like optics, etc aren't counted. While this may not be too helpful - esp with replacing unobtanium like registered AWs - it may create conditions for elevated tracking/scrutiny/reduction of possibility of loss.

CALI-gula
02-04-2008, 12:25 AM
...[If she gets really blonde and still insists, just ask her, "Honey, would you know what this gun looks like unloaded vs. loaded?" and wait for the blank stare.]

HAH! Funny you should say this, because a blonde pretty girl for Continental did ask for me to show the guns as unloaded when issuing the orange tag (2 years after 9/11, but before TSA had their own check-in at this particular airport) in a MidWest airport, maybe late 20's or early 30's, was not only genuinely interested in the firearms but also struck up conversation about hunting whitetail in Pennsylvania, with her MOM, and she was also proud to declare she was an NRA certified firearms instructor. At the time, I had a rare engraved antique Wilkes-Barre double barrel shotgun with me in 95% condition, and she fell in love with it. She was no slouch on firearms knowledge either, as we got in to talking about firearms, since I arrived WAY early for my flight, and it was early in the morning.

I fell in love... she was married. :(

When they ask me to show them as unloaded, I comply - it's no sweat off my brow, and I have no desire to be incongruous for something so simple in an airport, as I'm trying to make my flight on time. However, I do try to do as I mention before, such as suggesting a private area, or that other employees stand cover behind me as I show the guns unloaded. They most always see the logic and agree.

But again, in the past few years, TSA handles it all, so you are typically away from the crowd, and its a very expedient process. Now days, I find I get treated much better when I fly with guns than when not. :)

.

MysteryCereal
02-04-2008, 12:36 AM
Hey all, I work for TSA so any questions about what we do, I'd be glad to answer. :-D Ohh and we're not all that bad!!

shonc99
02-04-2008, 7:12 AM
I have also found that the city you happen to be in also helps. Most of the western cities have their share of hunters and sportsman which means that the TSA and airline employees regularly see firearms and associated items.

I would be nervous flying into places in the northeast.

cpsca
02-04-2008, 8:03 AM
Just an FYI for those flying Southwest. They DO require that you "prove" to them that the firearm is not loaded. It's stated in their policy online and I have been required to do so every time I fly with them (4 trips a week for the last 2 years). Only twice the gate agent didn' ask. It was on a weekend when the newbie gate crews are there.

Always carry a copy of the airline's policy. It has come in handy many times especially after I sign the affidavit saying that I'm the only one that can open up the case where the gun is located.

gosparx
02-05-2008, 12:03 AM
Okay, I had the vain hope that there was starting to be some consistency at the airports, but everyone's stories have dowsed that dream.

Speaking of carrying things through the airport that you shouldn't...

ALWAYS check your pockets. Once, just as I was walking into the security area, I reached into my pocket (getting ready to dump my keys into the little plastic box) and instead pulled out two .357 mag rounds! I had been at the range the previous day and these found their way into my pocket. Luckily "I" found them before entering the security area. (and I quickly went back into my car.)

On another trip, I ARRIVED, post flight, in San Jose (from Burbank) only to find a live 12ga shotgun shell lying in the bottom my backpack!! Along with some other less lethal gun stuff.

Once again, I had spent the previous day at the range and had needed to used my 'regular' backpack to carry some stuff to the range. (not something I normally needed to do). Then I did a piss poor job of checking the back when I cleaned it out.

Well, AFTER the flight back... I stopped at the Burbank TSA office and asked to speak with a manager. I started to explain what had happened and she actually was able to guess the basics before I got to the end of the story. She even joking asked if she wanted to hear the actual end of the story!!

Once I told her the rest she asked me if I remembered the flight, the time and what machine I had gone through so they could pull the tapes and see how they missed the shell and hopefully learn from their mistakes. She then thanked me and I went home.

As far as TSA a people go... (maybe you already know this MysteryCereal and I don't mean to be offensive) But in the beginning almost every TSA person I ran into was a pain-in-the-***** idiot. ESPECIALLY in San Jose!! (and in the early days... sorry to say this and not be very pc but most of them could barely speak English!!)

Burbank was never too bad, actually their people were nice and well informed most of the time.

But in San Jose and in other places... MAN!!!! I understand it has to be a tedious and frustrating job, but still... talking about rude, pushy, arrogant and domineering!!! I use to love to fly, but after 9/11 I learned to dread having my car searched, then the slow hassle of getting through all the BS (that wasn't going to stop anyone who really wanted to do anything bad) and finally squeeze into my little seat on the plane.

BTW... I traveled nearly every single weekend for almost 12 years... well over 300,000 miles between '95-'07. (and I must add that it was 'interesting' being one of only 6 people on the plane on Friday, September 14th, 2001!! And that was counting the flight crew and a friend that was flying with me!)

However, to be honest, the last time I went through San Jose, TSA seemed to have their act together and seemed to have learned a few manners. A smile, a please and thank you go a long way. (and all in English)

(but I still think it's all a waste of time and money. As far as the real threat is concerned, it's just 'feel good theatre' for the masses. PLEASE!!! correct me MysteryCereal... I would love to be wrong.


One last thing... It would probably be best for me to just to keep quite, but... I thought I needed to qualify my comment about non English speaking TSA agents: Basically, I think it should be required that for certain jobs you speak fluent English... Such as the security check point at the airport!! However, I am very pro-immigration... with rules and control. After all, my grandparents didn't spring from the ground here, they were born in Germany. But this is a conversation for a whole different thread on a whole different forum... I just wanted to put my previous comment into perspective.

MysteryCereal
02-05-2008, 2:55 AM
gosparx, I take no offense to anything in your post.

The sad truth of it is, I agree with most everything you say. When I first got hired, over 3 years ago, I assumed the job would be somewhat respectable. Having always considered myself a bright enough guy, I thought I would be surrounded by intelligent people. As we all know, that is not the case.

TSA ,as a whole, IS a joke. Granted we are a "new" agency/dept but if we could at least get our act together and follow the same rules everywhere, people might consider us more then just Federal Rent-A-Cops.

I have the luck of working in the checked baggage area, so while I do manage to make it out to see the public every once-in-a-while, I tend to like the peace and quiet of the back areas. I will tell you that the manager lied to you, unless she took your picture, the camera's happened to be pointing at the xray machine, and she went through every second of that tape during the time you said you were there, there is pretty much nothing she can do. The memory on the actual machines (it stores a certain amount of bag images) is fairly short.

At least for San Diego's airport, the vast majority speak English quite well. But I've been through enough airports to know that is not always the case. Whether I think it is a waste of money, I have to say no. I have personally witnessed/found enough gun's/knifes/pepper spray and so on in the brief times I do make it out to the checkpoint to know we are catching something. And while I'm sure that none of those people meant to take down a plane, the fact that there are people looking out for those will make a potential terrorist think twice. And if those billions of dollars have stopped one plane from going down, most would think it is worth it. Although I whole-heartedly agree the money could be spent better and the hiring process could be treated more like a Border Patrol/Custom and Border Protection/Immigration and Customs Enforcement and weed out alot of the potential idiots.

I have actually had the same thing happen to me (went to the range earlier in day, came to the airport to pick up a friend) and had rounds in my jacket while I was going through the check point. I'm not going to lie though, a shotgun shell, and more so individual rounds, are pretty hard to find in bags, even though you might not think the bag is cluttered, pens or cables near it make it damn near impossible to find things. How could we solve this problem, simple, no carry on's. Of course that would never fly.

I love checking firearms. It is the highlight of my day and usually everything goes smoothly. The majority of the time that we have to call the local police to investigate something, it is actually a fellow LEO traveling with a loaded weapon or loose rounds. We get a lot of registered AW and the majority of the people I work with don't know the difference between a AW and a regular rifle. And even if I did see an AR-15 with a full-auto sear and no paperwork to go with it, I would let it go. Simple fact of it is it's not my job. But if there were loose rounds, the first thing our local PD does is run the serial.

Which is why if you do put your OLL on a plane, I would highly recommend making sure there are no loose rounds or anything that would make us involve the PD. I friends with a few of the San Diego Harbor Police and it's almost a running gag that they mention my "Assault Rifle" because they just don't get (even though I've shown them the Penal Code numerous time's) that my rifle is legal. They have even told me that if they had seen my rifle, inside a checked bag, with my AW paperwork, they would confiscate the rifle and let the courts decide. So play it safe guys!

gosparx
02-05-2008, 4:22 AM
Thanks for the reply MysteryCereal !!!

Like you I have to admit that I love/loved flying with and checking firearms. I miss that now that I don't fly much. Even though I don't 'commute' anymore, I may just have to make a trip somewhere just so I can take my guns on a little flight!

There was just something about strolling into an "airport" with your bags packed full of firearms and ammunition. The bigger and scarier the gun and ammo the better. (The S&W 500 was always a big hit... no pun intended) Never got the chance to travel with my BMG... THAT would be fun... the fricking thing is HUGE (Cobb FA(t)). (Almost 5 feet tall and weighs 30lbs unloaded)

7724


I guess I'm pretty much a chicken when it comes to 'following the rules' (too many years raised in a very religious family... or so I've been told) so checking guns at the airport was my big chance to be "a rebel"... in a very safe and legal way. (yeah... )

Of course, I also looked at it as a way to show people that 'normal' people have/use guns (I at least 'look' normal), and I almost always had the chance to talk with people/passangers afterward about what they saw at the check-in counter when I checked in. Like you it was always a positive experience.

The only trouble I ever had was when I DID'T have any guns with me and some TSA agent couldn't speak English clearly enough for me to understand a simple request like to rerun my bag or to take my shoes off. In San Jose most of the TSA running the machines and playing 'crossing guard' with the lines, use to be Philippino, but after there was a story in the newspaper about lots of people having the same problems I was having, suddenly there were lots of people who could speak English working the machines and organizing lines at the airport. (About the only good thing to ever come out of the Mercury News.) Of course the problem then was that most of the replacements were mostly older - much older, and a little hard of hearing.... but at least if you spoke loud and clear they could understand you.

Quick Question... Do you know why it's "11 lbs" of ammo that is the limit? Is this just a SWA thing or some kind of CA or Fed limit? and why '11'? Although it worked out great because my bullet case held 120 rounds of S&W 500 and 120 rounds of 500 just happens to weigh a hair under 11lbs!!

Scarecrow Repair
02-05-2008, 7:17 AM
Quick Question... Do you know why it's "11 lbs" of ammo that is the limit? Is this just a SWA thing or some kind of CA or Fed limit? and why '11'? Although it worked out great because my bullet case held 120 rounds of S&W 500 and 120 rounds of 500 just happens to weigh a hair under 11lbs!!

11 pounds is almost certainly 5 kilograms in the regs but they translate it for the poor slobs here in the colonies.

gosparx
02-05-2008, 7:38 AM
Thanks for the info!

I SO wish we would just switch to metric... on EVERYTHING.

When I'm working with my guns (or anything else for that matter), if it's a stock weapon I usually just have to consider if it's 'foreign' or 'domestic' in order to know which tool to reach for... BUT once you start adding after-market goodies it's a complete crap shoot whether something is going to be metric or standard.

I've actually had accessories that had BOTH... wtf is that about???

We even do it with our ammunition, but at least in those cases there actually are some differences between .223 vs. 5.56x45 and .308 vs 7.62x51; however having or knowing those differences makes little difference in the frustration of the duality.

But this is a discussion for a different thread... unless we want to stick to airplanes and talk about the Canadian 727 that screwed-up up measuring their fuel intake due to standard vs. imperial gallon issues and ended up running out of fuel at 30,000+ feet! (story had a happy ending since the pilot was actually a glider pilot in his spare time and apparently 727's glide quite well)

rbgaynor
02-05-2008, 10:22 AM
Thanks for the info!
But this is a discussion for a different thread... unless we want to stick to airplanes and talk about the Canadian 727 that screwed-up up measuring their fuel intake due to standard vs. imperial gallon issues and ended up running out of fuel at 30,000+ feet! (story had a happy ending since the pilot was actually a glider pilot in his spare time and apparently 727's glide quite well)

A 767-200 actually, the "Gimli-Glider," more details here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimli_Glider (off-topic yes, but still a great story).

bwiese
02-05-2008, 10:48 AM
They have even told me that if they had seen my rifle, inside a checked bag, with my AW paperwork, they would confiscate the rifle and let the courts decide. So play it safe guys!


Do you have their contact info?

These officers need to be "informed".

MysteryCereal
02-05-2008, 2:32 PM
Do you have their contact info?

These officers need to be "informed".

Haha, I would love nothing more then to "inform" their captain but the fact that they are the one's clocking me speeding down Harbor Dr, I'll let sleeping dogs lie.

vandal
03-18-2008, 12:19 PM
For handguns I like to field strip them so when the blonde Southwest gal asks to see it's unloaded I just hold up the stripped frame. I don't have to worry about where it's pointed (it is hard to keep it pointed in a safe direction at the counter), and it's obviously unloaded.

RE: the case -- I have enjoyed using cases with built-in combo locks until recently, when my combo lock was damaged in transit (forced open by TSA maybe?) Nothing was taken but it was not possible to lock it for the return trip. Now I use a case that gets locked with an external combination lock... and I pack a spare lock!

I prefer the combo lock vs the key in case I lose the key. But I have also had combo lock combinations get mysteriously reset.

nuke_em
03-18-2008, 1:18 PM
The best thing about flyinf with firearms? When non-gun oriented public folk or other passengers discover you are flying with firearms in your cargo bags, they nearly always ask;

"Do you have a permit for that?" or "Do you have to have a license to do that?"

Without pause, I always say "Yes; it's called the 2nd Amendment". :)

.

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t120/mrsr71/animatedthumbsup.gif http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t120/mrsr71/animatedthumbsup.gif

deleted by PC police
03-18-2008, 1:35 PM
Thanks for all the info, fellas! I'll make sure to bring all the paperwork from Southwest as well... Also, In case I can't fit all my magazines in, do you think they'll worry if I put a few empty mags in my carry on bags?

No gun parts of any kind in your carry on. At least that was the policy when I worked the checkpoints. Not even a takedown pin. They have no idea what other parts have made it through security and you will be in dutch if they find mags in your carry on. Check it or ship it.

daves100
03-18-2008, 5:51 PM
plan on adding a extra 30 to 45 minutes ( in my case i needed it ) on the way back home everything went o.k.

I flew with my M2HB most of the info has been covered already i'll hit a few points.

first call the 1-800 customer service get the reference to where you can buy extra insurance over 2500.00 amount. the lady at the check in counter told me i could not buy anymore insurance , until she called a supervisor over.

wait for TSA to inspect your mitems before going to the gate with the only key ( trust me on this one had to run back from the gate to TSA )

try very, very hard not to laugh at the new lady at TSA when she takes the cotton patch on a metal wand over your gun looking for gun powder ( she told me that )

keep a copy of your paper work with you. ( never needed it myself )