Today’s question: How can you legally fly with a firearm? The Armed Attorneys break down the law regarding legal travel with a gun on a commercial airline.
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We’re the Armed Attorneys and today we’re going to talk about flying with your firearm. Which I think a lot of people are surprised to hear it’s easier than you think. If you’ve never done it before, there are some rules to follow but I found that it adds about 5 to 10 minutes to my check-in process so it’s really not so bad. The first thing you need to think about and this is where people get in trouble the most is, can you legally possess that firearm in the state you’re flying to? The airlines will not tell you, you can be in Louisiana, go to the airport and say, “I’m getting on a plane to New York,” or “I’m getting on a plane to New Jersey,” and, “Check your firearm in, we’ll talk about that process in a second.” And the airline is never once going to tell you you’re going to get arrested when you hit the ground in New Jersey. And yet it’s something that is of huge consideration but you’ve got to take that upon yourself. So step one, can you take the gun to the state you’re going to? What’s next Richard? The next one is the check-in procedure. And we’ll have a link in the comment below about the TSA’s procedures. But essentially, every firearm that you fly with has to be declared. The firearms and ammunition have to be declared. So how does this work? Well, you’ll have a locked, hard-sided container. Let’s use a semi-automatic pistol for example, but I recommend locking the slide open so that the agent can see that it’s unloaded. But you’ll have your locked, hard-sided container. Most of them for handguns, for example, don’t meet the minimum size requirements. They’ll be in a larger piece of checked luggage. But you’ll go to your airlines check-in counter say, “Hey, I’m flying with a handgun today.” They’ll open it up in their presence. Sometimes they’ll handle it, most of the time if the slide is locked open they’ll just look at it. Your ammunition can be in the same locked, hard-sided container. But the ammunition has to be completely enclosed, and so that could be technically in a magazine but you have to have a magazine cover to enclose it. Or, what I just recommend, carrying it in the manufacturer’s packaging or they make little special ammo boxes. But that can go in the same box as your handgun so you’ll declare it. They’ll inspect it and make sure it’s unloaded. They’ll lock it in your presence and place it inside of your larger piece of checked bags just like we were talking about with our handguns. … what happens if you get rerouted? And you’ve already checked before, that first step Emily talked about where you know you’re going to a state that’s legal to possess. Let’s say you’re flying from, I don’t know, Texas to Wisconsin, and you get rerouted in Illinois or you get rerouted to I can’t imagine, but what do you do? Yeah, this is a big concern. You know that you are legal in your own state. However, all of a sudden you find yourself in New York or New Jersey because your plane has been rerouted, and it happens. The only thing we can recommend is do not take possession of that luggage. Go to the airline, let them know that you want your luggage forwarded directly to the end destination without taking possession. That’s really the best you can do. And speaking of airlines, I think we should note that you really do need to call your airline before you fly … this is our practical tip is, check your carry-on bags. They do not want you taking firearms, firearms parts, ammunition with you on the plane. And this will get you hit with possible criminal charges, a hefty fine from the TSA, up to $14,000…
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