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firearms in checked luggage, yes or no

Active Member

 

last time I flew with a handgun, I declared it. I had it in a locked small hard case, the ammunition separate in a hard plastic case,..and all in my soft sided checked luggage. All went was fine. (It has been a couple of years). 

Have things changed?  Two friends recently flew, same departure city and within a week of each other. The first was told the same situation as mine- the handgun had to be in a hard locked case, not loaded, and could be placed in his soft sided checked luggage. Went fine.

     At a later date, the second passenger was told that the handgun locked hardcase (very small) had to be checked in as a SEPARATE pice of luggage. It could not be inside another piece of luggage.  He argued but lost.  His traveling work partner had a discreet body cam on and recorded this incident. I saw it on Facebook. Yup, the counter agent said the handgun case had to be checked as separate luggage,..TSA law.       

So, which is it?    (This is why I now travel the airlines with a body cam as many of my friends do now.) 

 

7 REPLIES 7
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Re: firearms in checked luggage, yes or no

Top Contributor
Solution

I do not believe there have been any recent changes. Sounds like your friend just encountered a misinformed agent. Hopefully they brought the incident to the attention of the airline for a response, which to me would be more productive than posting video on social media.

 

You can find Southwest's policies for traveling with a firearm here (click on "Guns and Ammunition"): Special Luggage

 

 

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Re: firearms in checked luggage, yes or no

Active Member

Thank you for the reply. I have this "special luggage" printed out for him. He was aware of the SW policy but didn't have it printed out. I always do.   He contacted SW Customer Service and offered to send them the video (from the body cam) but they stated that was not necessary.  ? Really? I would think SW would want to see that. If anything, for training purposes. 

     Now, with TSA -  at an dinner gathering recently, a TSA agent (only a year with TSA) stated that all handguns MUST be checked separately as checked locked luggage and CANNOT be inside another checked luggage. He said it doesn't matter what the airline's policy is.  So I contacted TSA on that and haven't heard back yet.    ??!!     Side note: Don't travel to New York City with a handgun in checked luggage or as checked luggage.   But that's another issue. 

      

 

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Re: firearms in checked luggage, yes or no

Active Member

I spoke to a SW customer service agent last night. She said a few agents at the check in counter have been known to get it wrong. However, as she said, the unloaded handgun, hard locked case CAN be placed inside your regular luggage. Since it is inside another piece of luggage, only the main luggage is counted as a single checked piece of luggage,..not two. However, a long gun case, usually very large, is checked in as a single luggage. 

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Re: firearms in checked luggage, yes or no

Top Contributor

All travelers can do is comply with written TSA regs, and have a copy of them to show uneducated or power tripping agents:

 

"

Transporting Firearms and Ammunition

 

You may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only. Declare the firearm and/or ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter. The container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be easily opened are not permitted. Be aware that the container the firearm was in when purchased may not adequately secure the firearm when it is transported in checked baggage.

Contact the TSA Contact Center with questions you have regarding TSA firearm regulations and for clarification on what you may or may not transport in your carry-on or checked baggage.

Firearms
  • When traveling, comply with the laws concerning possession of firearms as they vary by local, state and international governments.
  • If you are traveling internationally with a firearm in checked baggage, please check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information and requirements prior to travel.
  • Declare each firearm each time you present it for transport as checked baggage. Ask your airline about limitations or fees that may apply.
  • Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm. Only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock unless TSA personnel request the key to open the firearm container to ensure compliance with TSA regulations. You may use any brand or type of lock to secure your firearm case, including TSA-recognized locks.
  • Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.
  • Replica firearms, including firearm replicas that are toys, may be transported in checked baggage only.
  • Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage.
 
 

United States Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44, firearm definitions includes: any weapon (including a starter gun) which will, or is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; and any destructive device. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm.

Ammunition
  • Ammunition is prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.
  • Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm. Read the requirementsgoverning the transport of ammunition in checked baggage as defined by 49 CFR 175.10 (a)(8).
  • Small arms ammunition (up to .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge) must be packaged in a fiber (such as cardboard), wood, plastic, or metal box specifically designed to carry ammunition and declared to your airline.
  • Ammunition may be transported in the same hard-sided, locked case as a firearm if it has been packed as described above. You cannot use firearm magazines or clips for packing ammunition unless they completely enclose the ammunition. Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be boxed or included within a hard-sided, locked case. 
  • Please check with your airline for quantity limits for ammunition.
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Re: firearms in checked luggage, yes or no

New Arrival

Southwest and TSA policy seems pretty clear on firearm parts - "Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage." - I'll be taking a DIS-ASSEMBLED shotgun with me on a future flight - since the serialized part, the receiver, is the firearm, it has to be in a locked case, per regulations - what about the barrel, the wood stock, the magazine tube, etc. - all firearm PARTS - can those parts be in checked baggage without being in a locked case?

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Re: firearms in checked luggage, yes or no

Top Contributor

@texasyankee wrote:

Southwest and TSA policy seems pretty clear on firearm parts - "Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage." - I'll be taking a DIS-ASSEMBLED shotgun with me on a future flight - since the serialized part, the receiver, is the firearm, it has to be in a locked case, per regulations - what about the barrel, the wood stock, the magazine tube, etc. - all firearm PARTS - can those parts be in checked baggage without being in a locked case?


Everything you mentioned is part of a firearm so they should fall under the "firearm parts" regulations.  Parts is parts https://youtu.be/OTzLVIc-O5E

 

--TheMiddleSeat

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Re: firearms in checked luggage, yes or no

New Arrival

What I'm wondering though, is when the guidance says that firearm parts "may be transported in checked baggage", can those parts be mixed in with clothing and NOT in a locked case - I understand that firearms have to be in a locked case - in my situation, the receiver (the serialized part) will be in a locked case.  Is there any requirement for the PARTS to also be in a locked case?