Airplanes and Guns- Firearms Aboard Commercial Aircraft

Posted On January 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm by / No Comments

Airplanes and Guns- Firearms Aboard

Commercial Aircraft

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has established specific requirements for carrying firearms and ammo on commercial aircraft although the short of it is that it is permitted. In order for a traveler to transport firearms or ammunition on a commercial aircraft the following must be met:

  • The firearms and ammunition must be checked with the air carrier as luggage. Travelers are unable to carry either with them as carry-ons.
  • The firearm or ammunition must be declared orally or in writing in accordance with the procedures of the air carrier.
  • The firearm must be unloaded.
  • The firearm must be carried in a hard-sided container that is locked. The passenger must be the only one that can retain the key or the combination.

Checked Baggage & Inspection

If you are traveling you must be aware that all checked baggage is subject to inspection. If the air carrier wishes to open the firearms container they must be able to locate the passenger so that the passenger can unlock the container for further inspection. If the passenger cannot be located to unlock the container, the firearm may not be transported. Travelers are advised to fully cooperate with the authorities if they find it necessary to inspect your firearm.

Ammunition & Travel

As mentioned before, ammo is prohibited as carry-on luggage. As such, it too must be checked and transported in the manufacturer’s packaging or other packaging that is deemed suitable by the air carrier. You must also consult the air carrier to determine if you must pack the ammo and the firearm separately.

Federal Laws that Protect Airline Travelers

The U.S. Department of Justice has issued a written opinion that federal law protects airline travelers with firearms, assuming:

(1)   the person is traveling from somewhere he or she may lawfully possess and carry a firearm;

(2)   en route to the airport the firearm is unloaded and inaccessible from the passenger compartment of the person`s vehicle;

(3)   the person transports the firearm directly from his vehicle to the airline check-in desk without any interruption in the transportation, and

(4)   the firearm is carried to the check-in desk unloaded and in a locked container.

States to Avoid

In lieu of the above laws that protect travelers, the states of New York and New Jersey and specifically authorities at JFK, La Guardia, Newark and Albany airports have been known to enforce state laws against airline travelers who have connecting flights within these airports. For this reason even travelers in full compliance will want to consider avoiding these places altogether or make arrangements to ship their firearms to their end destination.

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