Checking Firearms While Flying

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I am about to fly, and plan on checking a rifle. Because I have never done this, and understanding how difficult it can be to even take shampoo while traveling by air – I have been researching this heavily. I am flying on United, so first I went to their website. The instructions there are very straight forward, and seem much easier than I expected. Basically, you have to have the weapon (unloaded) in a lockable case, with a key held by the gun owner. You take it to the check-in counter and declare your weapon. They will have you fill out a form, verify it is unloaded and then place a tag inside with your name. You will be instructed to take it to a location where the TSA will inspect it to verify it is unloaded and that all other procedures are followed.

I then asked my friends on the Heels and Handguns Facebook page what their experiences had been. Most of the people who had checked guns had very little trouble. One person, wisely, suggested I also read the tsa.gov website for their rules. I did this and found the regulations there to be exactly in line with United’s policy.

To be thorough, I also went to the airport’s official website. Both the arriving and departing airports had no additional information.

What have your experiences been? Are any airlines better than others? When flying into heavy gun control cities, like New York or Chicago, is there additional hassle?

After I fly in a few days – I’ll share my experience!

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7 thoughts on “Checking Firearms While Flying

  1. Wait, what is this? A new entry? Amazing, are my eyes fooling me? Must be. Well, gotta go to medical. (Hello, TSA? Yes, I want to report a long stick that goes boom in the baggage of. . .)

    1. NavyOne, I am trying something new, mobile blogging! I hope it makes me get more info here. I am now blogging directly from my iPhone and my iPad. It is not ideal, but better than no posts! Ha ha! Thank you kindly for the link!

  2. No problems with United, I’ve had problems with both Delta and American however. AND with TSA who did not know their own rules… sigh. Travel safe and shoot em good!

  3. I work for the TSA. That being clear right from the start, I am also a major 2A supporter.

    Here is the best advice I can give you or anyone else. Never ever begin your travel in NJ or NY with a firearm. Bring a firearm to JFK or LGA, even after following the airline and TSA rules, will get you arrested, charged with carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. Your GA or AZ permit will not cut it. You MUST have a NY or NJ permit, which as we all know is nearly impossible.

    As for TSA inspections, we are allowed to inspect the contents of the case and therefore may be required to open it, but we are not allowed to touch your weapons. We can screen the case without touching the guns. Keep your key, but be prepared to be called back to the screening area to open the case if necessary.

    1. Ron, thank you for taking time to share your knowledge with us. It is really helpful to hear from an actual person working within the TSA to understand what the agents will do and what they are supposed to do. I know I have some readers here who might fly through NY or NJ and I had a feeling regarding those locations before you even said anything, but glad to have you clarify that.

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