Airport Security Check with a Gun
Posted on May 22 2019
I entered the airport with my heart pounding. It was the first time I was flying with guns and all I imagined was being tackled by airport security and dragged off for a strip search and questioning. I had done my homework. I was a responsibly armed citizen and I knew the TSA regulations and the firearm laws of the state I was flying to, yet it did not seem to ease the pounding of my heart as I approached the ticket counter to tell them I had guns in tow.
Instead of being tackled I was greeted by the airline staff and the TSA personnel with a friendly attitude. I was asked to open the case so TSA personnel could inspect that my handguns, several standard 15 round magazines and an AR-15 were all in order. He filled out a bright orange card, dropped it into the case, and I locked it back up. Then they complimented me on my gun collection and sent me off with safe travel wishes.
I no longer get the pounding heart when I travel with my guns. It is important to remember that the TSA has no interest in infringing on your second amendment rights. However, it is also very important to know the regulations and pack correctly. To help out I have gathered the data on regulations from the TSA website and then put together my own tips so you are a well-informed and knowledgeable traveler.
TSA Regulations for Flying with Firearms and Ammunition:
- Comply with local, state and international laws on the possession of firearms.
- For international travel with a firearm in checked luggage, please check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for requirements and information.
- You must declare each firearm at the airline ticket counter. See your airline requirements for additional fees.
- Firearms, magazines, ammunition, and ammunition clips can only be transported in checked luggage, unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container. You should be the only person to hold the key or combination to the lock. TSA may request the key or combination to open the container to ensure you meet the TSA regulations.
Permitted in Carry-On Bag:
- Rifle Scope
Permitted in Checked Luggage in a Locked Hard-Side Case:
- Rifle Scope
- Clips, Bolts and Firing Pins
- Replica Firearms, including replica firearms toys
- Small arms ammunition
A great thing to do before you fly is to always check TSA.gov for any updates rules, regulations and laws. If you have any questions please call TSA or your airline carrier to get those answered, just DO NOT give them your name or travel information.
The TSA website has information but to break it down more for you here is my input:
- The hard-sided case the TSA mentions does not have to be made specifically for guns. The case does need to be lined with foam so your firearms are not shifting about in transport. Your magazines (if loaded) must be secured inlined cutouts.
- The hard-sided case must lock, whether it comes with a lock or you add locks through every lock spot. Note that TSA locks are NOT allowed. TSA locks are usually purchased to place on your luggage in case it is searched, in which case TSA has a key to open those instead of breaking your lock. However, your hard-sided case for your firearms and ammunition must be locked and ONLY the person checking that case can have access to the box.
- If you are traveling with lots of firearms and ammunition make sure the hard-sided case can lock and meets checked luggage requirements for your airline. If the hard-sided case is small enough to fit in your checked luggage, it still needs to lock, but your luggage does not.
- Make sure all the firearms are unloaded.
- You can travel with ammunition but every round must be transported in a small plastic or cardboard box intended for ammunition or in a properly secured magazine. No loose rounds are allowed.
- Throw a GPS tracking tag into your gun case. I use a Tile® tracker and can see it's movement from the app on my phone.
- Once you arrive at the airport, approach the ticket counter and declare your firearms. I recommend saying, “I am declaring firearms for travel.” DO NOT walk up to the counter and say, “I have a gun.”
- Please, please, please! Double check your body, pockets, and carry-ons before you enter the security checkpoint. I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten what I have in a bag or suitcase. When I search it ahead of time I always seem to find a stash of ammo or a knife somewhere in my bag. Also, if you are like me and wear Dene Adams® every day, you forget that you are carrying. Yes, it does happen! According to the TSA in 2016 3,391 firearms were found in people’s carry-on luggage, 83% of them loaded! This can result in over $12,000 fines and possible jail time. I have had to throw away perfectly awesome knives before entering security checkpoints, but thankfully I have never had an issue with fines or jail times because of my check and recheck rituals.
- Know the firearm laws of the destination state and city you are going to. This includes magazine capacity and ammo types. If you are traveling with a knife, know the state’s legal blade types and lengths. All is information can be found at USAcarry.com.
- When you arrive at your destination point, you will not find your luggage at baggage claim. You must pick up your case at the airline luggage service office.
I personally love to only fly Southwest. I have never had any hassle from them and my gun case counts as one of my two free bags! I also do not put gun stickers all over my case. There is no need to announce to the world that you have guns. It could just make you a target, which is something you want to avoid. And of course, I wear my Dene Adams® holster when I travel. It’s fantastic for keeping your phone, ID, money, lipstick or even tampons securely on your body and it’s super comfortable. Plus, once you get to your gun again, you will be ready to holster it right back on your body before you even leave the airport. Keep in mind that wearing your Dene Adams® holster through security will require you to empty the contents of your holster, just like you would with your pockets. You will NOT need to take off your holster because it is considered an undergarment. You may be patted down, but should not have issues.
On that same note, you can also wear your Dene Adams® holster to stadiums for games, concerts or more. Just remember you are using your holster then as a purse and not carrying any firearms into the stadium. Metal detectors at stadiums have never been strong enough to detect the steel boning. I have even snuck whiskey and candy into stadiums and movie theaters!
Safe travels everybody and go visit deneadams.com for the VERY BEST concealed carry holsters on the market!
Taken from Anna's video on July 19, 2017 "Flying with Guns!"
Revised blog by Andrea Shelton