There are plenty of reasons to travel with a weapon, from going on a hunting trip to bringing it with you to take target shooting or to the range with your friend. If your trip involves flying however, there are a few things that you would be wise to think about before you head to the airport.
Any gun owner should get a little cautious when thinking about carrying a gun online, especially with the security processes that we have to go through just to get on a plane in the first place. Fortunately, you shouldn’t have too much trouble traveling with your gun, as long as you follow the tips that we’ve listed below.
How To Pack Your Guns When Flying
One of the most important things that you can do is to understand the latest regulations around checking a gun on a plane. While many things associated with travel might seem strange or confusing, the TSA regulations for traveling with a gun are very straightforward. They require that you keep your gun in a secure, locked container that has hard sides.
On top of that, you need to make sure that your gun is properly packed. That means that the chamber and magazine are unloaded, and ideally the magazine is left out of the gun. While you can technically pack your weapon with a loaded magazine (provided that the chamber is unloaded), why run the risk?
Are You Flying With Ammo?
Most gun owners will want to fly with their gun and ammo, and it might surprise you that there are specific rules for flying with your ammo as well. Again, these are relatively straightforward, with current regulations requiring that you fly with less than 11 pound of ammo generally, although all airlines might impose their own restrictions, and it may be different outside of the United States.
This ammo also needs to be checked, not carried on, and a stray round or two in your carry-on will almost definitely result in a much longer TSA check and some additional hoops to jump through, depending on the airport. Ultimately, keep all of your ammo in your checked bag and make sure that it’s properly secured. This means that you need to pack your ammo in a specific ammo case, one that is made with some type of fiber (like cardboard), wood, or metal. Other than that, there are relatively limited regulations around taking ammo with you when you fly.
How To Declare Your Guns
Based on the way that most of us experience the TSA today when we carry a simple water bottle or pocket knife through security, or even when we get through with nothing, you’d expect that declaring that you are traveling with a weapon would trigger black helicopters and a full SWAT response.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, declaring that you are travelling with a weapon will be relatively boring. When you visit the check-in counter, make sure to let them know that you have a gun in your checked baggage. They will hand you a card to fill out, and that’s almost everything that you will have to do during the average flight.
In some cases, you might have to wait for a few minutes so that TSA can check out your (locked) case, but this isn’t guaranteed. As long as you follow the steps listed above, keeping your gun unloaded and without a magazine in the weapon to be safe, you should have no issues at all.
While it might not seem like it, this is all that you need to do to carry a gun on a plane. Unless you miss one of the points listed above, everything will be fine when you bring your gun on a flight. If you don’t, you might end up dealing with way more TSA scrutiny (and possible missed flights, etc.) than you would otherwise. Keep in mind that the rules for almost everything you bring on a plane are always subject to change, but following these tips properly will make for a hassle-free check-in experience and a more comfortable flight for all involved.