Flying With Guns: What Is And Isn't Allowed

Flying With Guns: What Is And Isn't Allowed
Concealed carriers, hunters, and off-duty law enforcement routinely travel with firearms in their checked bags. Here's how to do it by the book.web photo

In the aftermath of Friday’s shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, much is being made of what security precautions are taken when gun owners fly with firearms.

The shooter flew to the airport from Alaska with a handgun in his checked bag. When he retrieved his luggage at the baggage terminal, outside the TSA security area, he went into a bathroom, loaded the gun, and proceeded to shoot travelers in the terminal at random.

Anti-gunners, like former DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Weston), have openly criticized current regulations saying the government should consider whether if firearms should be allowed in checked bags at all, and that security should be increased in such areas.

So what are the rules when it comes to traveling with firearms?

It's really not that complicated. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), "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."

The TSA notes that travelers must comply with all local, state, and international laws when traveling with firearms, and that each gun must be declared every time it is presented for transport.

Additionally, “Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.”

When it comes to ammunition, there are specific rules too.

Ammo is prohibited from being transported in carry-on bags, but it can be placed in checked bags along with the firearm.

Specifically: "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 requirements governing the transport of ammunition in checked baggage as defined by 49 CFR 175.10 (a)(8)."

“Small arms ammunition, including ammunition not exceeding .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge, may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm.”

This story from ABCNews endeavors to explain the rules and dispel any confusion about the legality of traveling by air with firearms.

The story says, "Flying with firearms is not new and people do it legally and safely every day. However, many travelers appear to misunderstand the rules when it comes to stowing firearms in carry-ons. Attempting to go through security and board an aircraft with a firearm, loaded or unloaded, is illegal and you will be arrested.

“And yet, it happens every day. During the first eight months of 2016, the TSA has discovered more than 2,150 firearms in passengers’ carry-ons nationwide during routine screening of personal property at security checkpoints.”