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  #1  
Old 08-28-2012, 7:02 PM
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Default Best way to fly?

Hey guys,
I'm going to start flying throughout California (Off duty). I am aware my department has to approve flying with a weapon and its very hard to get cleared from what I hear. I wish I could fly armed but I know this is probably not going to happen. Wondering what everyone's experience is with checking a weapon. I'm paranoid about some wonderful employee of the airline or TSA a) taking it b) losing it.

Whats the best way to transport and any advice is welcome. My plan as of yet is to leave a spare Glock 22 up North with family since that will be my primary area I travel. I would much rather carry my normal glock 30.
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Old 08-28-2012, 7:22 PM
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Getting cleared to fly armed off duty is a nightmare to say the least, even flying on official duty is a pain after 9/11. I took one back to DC a few years ago, in checked luggage it was fairly simple process. Declare it at the counter, they have a form you need to fill out or did then. It has to be inside a locked case in the checked bag, ammo separate and not loose, or in mags. I probably forgot one or two of the steps but the airlines have all the info.
Lost or stolen probably happens, not as often we may think, (we tend to be a bit more paranoid about that kind of thing than most) and I think the airline is on the hook once you declare that it is in the checked bag, for replacement. Someone may have more current info, than I do, so don't take any of this for absolute.
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Old 08-28-2012, 7:23 PM
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Drive instead.
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Old 08-28-2012, 7:27 PM
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Drive instead.
No thanks lol, after working 4 12's or more the last thing I wanna do is roll up the 5.
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Old 08-28-2012, 7:31 PM
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http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...rial_1666.shtm

Some airlines/airports might have special restrictions too, I'm not sure. Like, I hear JFK is terrible to bring guns into and fly from but I have no experience with it.

As for paranoid about flying with things, I brought back my Fender Stratocaster from PA last time I came back and I refused to put it in the cargo hold. After everything I've had broken or lost I was *not* putting my baby under there. She flew first class(they stuck her in the FC closet lol)
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Old 08-28-2012, 7:33 PM
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Originally Posted by P5Ret View Post
Getting cleared to fly armed off duty is a nightmare to say the least, even flying on official duty is a pain after 9/11..
I was reading the TSA brief from 2009 I think. They made it seem like the policy was redone and so much better. In fact it made it much harder to fly. As I recall your department could clear you before that time and you didn't have to jump through as much red tape. Now it would seem you have to jump through the whole red tape factory.Unreal this country is.
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Old 08-28-2012, 7:53 PM
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Quote:
I'm going to start flying throughout California (Off duty)
The good thing about flying in CA is that Southwest is cheap...and firearms friendly.

Just show up early, walk up to the counter and tell the ticket person you are traveling with a pistol. Fill out the form, show them it is unloaded, put the form in the case, lock it and put it in your suitcase.

I just use the case the pistol came it...I usually travel with a SIG or S&W...put a padlock through the holes and put the whole thing into my soft sided luggage. It stands less chance of being pilfered by the agent and the same chance as any other piece of luggage being stolen by the handlers or at the luggage carousel. Stand near the outlet chute waiting for your bag.

I've been doing it for years on Southwest and haven't had any problems...I do avoid multi-stop flights
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Old 08-28-2012, 8:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 9mmepiphany View Post
The good thing about flying in CA is that Southwest is cheap...and firearms friendly.

I've been doing it for years on Southwest and haven't had any problems...I do avoid multi-stop flights
Thanks.....Yea Southwest or Jetblue is the only way I fly. Although I lost faith in TSA even more, Long Beach Airport and Jet Blue after letting this abomination on the plane. CPC 21810 perhaps????? Seemed awfully suspicious and the guy told me it was "jewelry" after I told him how awesome they were.
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  #9  
Old 08-28-2012, 8:18 PM
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I just flew from Sac to Vegas a few months ago. After researching TSAís requirements (follow link above) I bought a Pelican case for my LCP, and went to home depot and got two small three digit re-settable combo locks. TSA states only 11 rounds of ammo max, and they must be transported in an approved container and not in a magazine or clip. FYI an approved ammo container is the cardboard ammo box they are sold in. Also the mag must be removed from the gun.

Things to consider. Donít get locks that state they are the TSA approved. If you look on the bottom of those types of locks, you will see a key slot that any TSA or airport person with that key can open. Those types of locks are for luggage and not required on firearm cases.

Also, you will be required to open your luggage at the counter as well as the firearm case when you declare it. I didnít really care to display for all to see I had a gun, but thatís the way they have it set up. Besides, most everyone is concerned about themselves so it was pretty low key. The one thing I did find disconcerting was, Southwest in Sacramento was up to speed with the whole process and was quick and painless. However, Southwest Vegas was a different story. It took three clerks to complete the task!!! And then they tapped the form (you fill out) to the inside of the case??!!! That form is supposed to be taped to the outside so luggage handlers know it has been inspected!!!

And lastly, after checking your luggage, they will ask you to wait nearby for approximately 10 minutes just in case there is a problem with your bag. If not, just proceed to the gate.

Ps. They did not put any firearms sticker or such on the outside of the luggage my case was in.

I will post a pic of my firearm case set up tomorrow when I get home.
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Old 08-29-2012, 5:58 AM
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To add a bit to the above... I've flown with loaded mags in the hard case with the gun (gun unloaded of course) and TSA has yet to squeak about it. No loose rounds in the case, and make sure you thoroughly go through your carry on(s) before you get to the airport as one loose round or a mag in your carry on found at screening will be a major PITA.

Procedures can vary a bit from airline to airline and airport to airport. The easiest time for me has been at SFO (where the screeners are not TSA employees, but rather a contractor) and at Sacramento. Since the advent of LEOSA more and more officers are taking their firearms with them when they travel so it's rare these days to find counter workers or TSA people who freak when you declare firearms in your checked bags.

You have to declare at check in that you have an unloaded firearm in your checked baggage. Have your badge and ID handy just in case. You should not be opening your bags for the counter worker. They should be alerting TSA who will (usually) take you and your checked bag to a separate area so that a screener can verify your firearm(s) is unloaded, in an appropriate container and ammo is properly contained. You need to retain your key or combination at all times. At SFO you hand your key to the screener, they open, inspect and then secure the case in your presence and return your key to you.

There should be no forms or tags identifying your bag as containing a firearm. That requirement is pretty much dead as even TSA has figured out that those are red flags for theft. In the old days United used to require a brightly colored tag be affixed to any bag that contained a firearm, but they would allow the string to be tied to the handle and the tag itself to be slipped inside the bag (letter of the policy vs. spirit of the policy).
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  #11  
Old 08-29-2012, 6:14 AM
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The concern over flying with a firearm checked seems overblown. I flew to Chicago (Anti-Gun capital of the world) a few months ago. I checked my unloaded M&P9C at the airport, unloaded magazines and a box of rounds in same suitcase. I filled out a little form, and boarded. They never even asked to see my Creds.

In Chicago, I retrieved my weapon, loaded it, and carried it the whole time I was in Chicago (Thanks to the LEOSA). Thankfully, I never had any issue. I even stopped and chatted it up with a few of Chicago's finest.

End of trip, reversed the process and flew home. Zero issues.

Sidebar: Besides the horrible politics, Chicago is a great town to visit. There is obviously a crime problem there but it seems to be somewhat contained in the urban area. Downtown Chicago is awesome.
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Old 08-29-2012, 1:04 PM
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I'm surprised you guys have issues. It's really not that hard. Anyone can fly with a firearm checked.

And flying armed is not all that difficult.... Take the class, get the ufan and keep your heater on you.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TURNKEY13 View Post
And then they tapped the form (you fill out) to the inside of the case??!!! That form is supposed to be taped to the outside so luggage handlers know it has been inspected!!!
Not true Turnkey. As a former ticket counter/gate/ramp/baggage handler airline employee at SMF I can tell you that we're not supposed to put the tag on the outside to advertise the firearm because of the concern for theft. You can pack your pistol in a hard sided locked case inside your suitcase and they'll put the tag on the outside of the case, but not on the handle of the suitcase, a baggage handler will never see it. That tag is for the TSA and FAA regs, baggage handlers assume everything they get from the TSA has been properly screened by their standards.

As for flying on duty, I was guilty of not being especially thorough in checking letters as long as creds were in order for LEOs. The process is pretty simple:
- Let the ticket counter agent know you're a LEO flying armed, show your letter, get LEO form. The agent will let the gate agent know by phone when you're on your way up so they expect you.
- Let TSA know at exit point upstairs. They won't screen you in the regular line and you cannot go through with other non-LEO travelers in your party.
-Let gate agent know as soon as you get to gate as they'll pre-board you, introduce you to the flight crew so they're aware in case bullets start flying mid air that you're one of the good guys.

We catered to a lot of correctional officers doing prisoner transport, but I always had a few federal agents and local LEOs on some sort of work business.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:55 PM
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I didnít state before. The gun was inside a hard case inside my luggage. They put the tag inside the hard case, and no marking (appropriately) on the outside of my luggage. So, if the screener or TSA agent saw the case inside the luggage and opened the luggage to inspect the hard case, with the tag inside it, it would look as if it had not been declared or inspected.
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:10 AM
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I believe that FAA now requires a teletype from your agency authorizing you to be armed in flight and the letter is no longer valid. You must also have taken a specific course regarding use of firearms on aircraft, which was very brief.

I haven't flown armed since right after 9/11. Rules and procedures change all the time, so check with the airline, your agency, and the FAA for the latest info. TSA doesn't approve/disapprove your status. They just check and make sure everything is in order.
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:06 AM
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Turnkey, they don't always inspect it anyway even with the tag, it shows up on the screen when it's scanned. If they need to open the case, they have the agent recall the passenger and open it with their key. Most of the time I'd send an agent back with the key in case it needed to be opened so as to not have to call the pax back and then return the key after the bag is scanned. In airports with out-front baggage scanning, it's even easier. The Ticket counter agent who puts the tag in is the one who checks for it being unloaded etc. Since ammo is pretty stable and you don't have access to your firearm in the bin, the security threat is low, hence TSA's less stringent policy. The FAA has their concerns, but TSA isn't really responsible for that aspect.

Last edited by vmcdonnell; 08-31-2012 at 11:09 AM..
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:36 AM
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I have flown multiple times with Southwest and JetBlue so I will speaking from my personal experience. I have my off duty weapon (Glock 26 Gen4) and it is secured in a TSA approved container. I have something similar to a GunVault NanoVault (http://www.amazon.com/GunVault-NV200.../dp/B00384755S).

I store my Glock (unchambered with a chamber flag) with the ammunition separate (in a mag) in the NanoVault. I carry the key on my person at all times. I declared the firearm at the ticket counter and signed some paperwork. Some airlines want to inspect the firearm right then and there. Others have a TSA officer come out to the counter and inspect it. A piece of paper is placed inside the container and another paper is wrapped around the GunVault declaring it has been inspected and it is safe. There is NO paperwork on the outside of your luggage stating there is a firearm. Your checked baggage should be locked with a TSA approved lock (which means TSA can open the lock if needed). The GunVault needs to be TSA approved but can be only opened with one key which is in your possession.

This procedure usually goes very smooth. There was one incident where I almost missed a flight. It was the first time I flew after being a LEO. I arrived at the airport 2-3 hours early because I wanted ample time to deal with any possible issues. Well, the ticket counter lady forgot to place the paperwork around my GunVault stating it was checked and safe. During the X-ray scan, TSA picked up the gun, opened up my luggage and called me. I explained to them I was a LEO and had declared the firearm at the counter. TSA requested my key so they could open the GunVault to inspect my firearm. I told them I need to be present for them to inspect the firearm since it is my off-duty firearm and I was accountable for it. They allowed me to go with a TSA Officer and the firearm was deemed safe. The TSA Officer released me back to the "unsecured" area of the airport therefore I had to go through the security line AGAIN. The line now had about 50 people and it was moving like molasses. My flight was to take off in 15 minutes and I was not going to make. Fortunately, the people in front of me were kind enough to let me cut in front of them. I was the last person to board the plane. I definitely learned from this experience... I now correct the mistakes of the ticket counter employees so I wouldn't have to experience that again.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:45 AM
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"Best way to fly"................. Pimp my Boeing dawwwwwwg!

Sorry, was the first thing that came to mind when I read the title from the OP.
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Old 09-17-2012, 3:02 PM
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When I use to do AWOL apprehensions as a MP for the army we use to fly armed. You have to do the approved TSA video. For federal (which we fell under) you have to have a badge, credentials, and other form of ID. Then you inform the ticket agent you are a armed LEO. Then you fill out the paperwork. Then when you go through security you inform (discreetly) a TSA agent your a leo and they will pull you aside, check you credentials then sign some paperwork. Then you inform the gate agent you are an leo. They will let you board first and you meet the captain of the flight and inform him where you sit. From what I hear it is pretty hard and usually not allowed for local LEO to fly armed. you have to have a letterhead for each flight why you are flying armed. I dont know the specifics but thats what I was told from other local LEO when I did it.
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Old 09-17-2012, 3:31 PM
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I recently flew from San Diego to San Jose via Southwest. Firearm and mags were in a sig factory lockable case. I used my own combo locks on the case. I declared the firearm upon check in at the counter. There was no inspection. I signed documentation that said the firearm was unloaded. A card was taped to the firearm case and it was placed back into my checked luggage. The luggage was secured with a TSA compliant lock which they could open. I was not summoned for inspection of my firearm at anytime.

Upon arrival in San Jose, I checked my luggage and found the "your luggage was inspected by the TSA" pamphlet. Everything was in order, in the same place I had packed it, as if it had never been opened.

I find Southwest to be the most firearm friendly air carrier out there. The counter person was totally professional, did not draw attention to the fact I was LE or had a firearm in my luggage, and had me on my way in less than 5 minutes.

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Old 09-17-2012, 8:57 PM
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I would suggest having a copy of both the airlines firearms/ammo policy, and TSA's. Sometimes the individuals at the counter are not that knowledgeable and will tell you things that are not true (as in, you have to provide a key or combo to your firearm container.) I fly quite a bit, and SWA is usually firearm frlendly.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:39 PM
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Just don't drop your mag on the floor, or leave it in a seat back pocket on the plane for a 5-year old to find.

Love it how they use the term "clip". Must be watching too much rap videos.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/201...st-plane.shtml
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Old 09-18-2012, 2:30 AM
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A side question, is there any problem traveling domestic or intl with a wood or synthetic rifle stock?

I poured over TSA's site and "gun parts" are allowed in checked baggage but does a stock have to be declared the same way a full firearm does? The website doesnt say anything. I called to TSA and got nowhere. How do i confirm its ok? Id hate to have it taken away.
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Old 09-18-2012, 3:18 AM
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The airlines do not ask you to show firearms are unloaded. You fill out a firearms declaration and l place in case. You must have locked hard case and ammo may be in magazines or boxes designed for ammo and in with firearm or in locked suitcase. Then you take it to tsa for checking in. I have done it many times. Simple process. The airlines stopped asking you to show it is unloaded years ago. All firearm parts must be in checked baggage including stocks.
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Old 09-18-2012, 6:34 AM
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Thanks....Yes i read TSA rules...the question is do i have to declare a rifle stock and get it into a locked container? OR, can i simply put it in checked suitcase and forget it and not declare anything?
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Old 09-18-2012, 8:22 AM
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CharlesV,

No problem with domestic, but International travel has its own rules about firearms parts that can be very complicated and a legal nightmare. It concerns the "importation" of firearms parts and requires special permits. Depending on the country, you could land in jail, not just lose the stock.
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Old 09-18-2012, 9:36 PM
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TSA states only 11 rounds of ammo max

Where did you find this? I usually pack my 229 and 3-12 round magazines and 27 rounds in the cardboard and plastic it came in.
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Old 09-18-2012, 9:40 PM
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One thing I do is use the original Sig plastic case that my 229 came in. It has Law Enforcement written on it in white letters on the black case. I feel like baggage handlers are less likely to rip off a LE gun. I maybe wrong but it makes me feel better.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:30 PM
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For on duty carry aboard aircraft:

http://www.tsa.gov/lawenforcement/pr...with_guns.shtm

Certain Federal LEO may carry off duty also.

For non-LEO and off duty LEO:

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...rial_1666.shtm
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Old 09-19-2012, 6:19 PM
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I'm flying from Oakland to Salt Lake City on Friday on Southwest and just double checked their website here are the highlites.

The ammunition may be placed in the same container as the firearm and must be securely packed in cardboard (fiber), wood, or metal boxes, or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.

Magazines or clips containing ammunition must be securely packaged (placed in another small box or in a secure cutout in the carrying case, in order to protect the primer of the ammunition).

When checking ammunition, Customers are limited to 11 pounds gross weight (ammunition plus container) per person.

We allow multiple firearms to be transported inside one hard-sided case.

My Ruger LC9 and Sig 229R SRT are both coming on this trip
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Old 09-19-2012, 6:29 PM
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Sounds like they are repeating TSA rules

If anyone hasnt read,
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...ted-items.shtm
contact info
http://www.tsa.gov/contact/index.shtm
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Old 09-19-2012, 7:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wtactraining View Post
TSA states only 11 rounds of ammo max

Where did you find this? I usually pack my 229 and 3-12 round magazines and 27 rounds in the cardboard and plastic it came in.
I'm not LEO, but I fly regularly with checked firearms - usually on United.

TSA (as far as I know) doesn't limit how much ammo you can bring in your checked luggage:
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...rial_1666.shtm

However, individual airlines may have their own rules. United allows up to 11 POUNDS of ammo (not 11 rounds).

That said, don't expect the employees helping you to be familiar with all of the guidelines. Research it before you fly (both TSA and your carrier), and if you're that concerned about it bring printouts.

In smaller airports, the ticket agent may ask you to wait around for about 10 minutes before going through security in case there are any problems screening your bag (as you shouldn't provide your keys or combo on United per their policy http://www.united.com/web/en-US/cont...ge/sports.aspx).

Larger airports like SFO or IAD (again based on United experience), they typically escort you down to the TSA inspection area and you actually unlock the case for inspection and watch as the TSA agent checks your bag before relocking.

That said, I've had US Air idiots tell me that I can't bring any ammunition in my checked bag, TSA employees ask for my combination (which I've refused and explained it would be in violation of United policy - they let me unlock/relock the bag without sharing the combo), and another employee at SFO actually try to walk me through the security check point with my checked bag + firearms after completing the TSA inspection downstairs.

Just give yourself plenty of time to deal with the unexpected.
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