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Piney Woods Moderator
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My wife has gotten used to the extra delay of checking our bags due to a firearm being transported in my checked bag. I use one of the lock boxes with a cable that goes through the support in my bag. You actually get to stand there and watch the TSA agent inspect your bag then lock it for you. I have never had anything stolen from my luggage during travel. I get a hoot out of watching the different responses for airline clerks when you declare a gun. Everything from "OMG he has a gun" to "ain't that cute, I want one like that". Why carry a starter pistol when I can carry the real thing. Blanks ain't cheap you know.:)
 

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I have a friend that travels with a cheap Ruger Security Six just so he can lock up his bags. He travels with expensive custom knives and this way he can lock the bags and know if someone has tampered with them. Also you can request a TSA inspection if you are traveling with high value items. A jeweler friend of mine does this on a regular basis also.
 

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Very interesting, and a bit disturbing at the same time, that there isn't enough oversight in the process to prevent such thefts.
 

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Years ago, Masaad Ayoob told of having guns stolen from his luggage. Maybe 20 years, now, and certainly long before security works the way it does now. It is fascinating that what used to the risk of losing your gun in transport has now become the safest way to move it.
 

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As an airline employee, I travel extensively with a handgun in my checked bags both as a revenue passenger and exercising my privileges for free travel as a "non-rev" passenger. I find it extremely easy.


A couple of points:
  • Know the rules of the airline you are traveling on. These rules might effect the storage or how much ammo you can carry.
  • Use two locks on your bag.
    • One lock to secure your weapon inside your luggage. As mentioned above, use a cable to somehow secure your weapon to your bag. If your bag doesn't have a frame inside it or other devise, get one that does!
    • One lock to secure the outside of your bag. Use a TSA lock on the outside. If you don't, there is a great possibility that your lock will be cutoff. TSA has the right to do that and will.
    • Do not use a TSA lock to secure your weapon!
  • If you feel your bag has been tapered with, request a TSA inspection (I've never felt the need).
 

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When you approach the agent at the ticket counter, always be confident but friendly. As I'm called up, I simply state that "I have a handgun to declare". The only thing the agent is going to do is give you a info card to complete and place with your weapon. They might possibly ask you to show them that it is unloaded but I will not let them handle the weapon... period. I've found that some male agents and few female agents will ask for the inspection (I mean, TSA is going to do it for sure either visual or with x-ray). If you frequent the airline, ask for additional copies of the card so that one will always be ready. In that I will already have the card completed and with the weapon, I tell them so. 95% of the time they do not want to see the weapon. They send me straight to TSA after they issue my boarding pass. Very business like. Handle TSA the same, very business like and they will consider you a professional of some type. Only do what is asked. Some places, like LAS, will throw you bag on the conveyor behind the ticket counter and tell you to stand a specific point for a specific amount of minutes. After that, you can go on your way. I've never had a TSA come out of the back and ask me didilly.
 

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Four of us were coming back from a hunting trip in Colorado (1989) and had four locked guncases marked FIREARMS (per airline regs) in our checked baggage. Our flight was running late so we landed for our connecting flight only a few minutes before our 2nd plane took off. Our baggage made the connecting flight but we didn't. When we arrived at Bradley airport in Ct at 1 am, (5 hours late) the whole terminal was deserted and dark except for emergency lighting. To our horror, there was our guns piled up in the lobby outside of the secured area. Anyone walking thru the terminal could have just walked out the door with our rifles. After numerous calls to the airline it was apparent they couldn't care less.
 

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I fly alot with weapons and Ranch Dog is right on the money. The only thing I would like to add is that if for some reason your weapon is stolen, you are SOL. They do not insure any equipment including golf clubs, skis, and yes guns. Nor do they offer additional insurance. My advice is to insure your weapons through NRA. If you are a member you automatically have $1000 worth of coverage. You can add more coverage for a reasonable price.
 
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