I’m Sergeant Hinton with the United States Army Marksmanship unit. Our job is to travel nationally and internationally and accomplish the Army’s mission. In today’s Pro-Tip we are going to talk about traveling with a firearm and how to fulfill TSA regulations.
First and fore-most all firearms need to be in their own hard sided and lockable case. The same is true for ammunition. So, for my personal gun I actually carry it in two cases of protection because I like the added security when traveling. So this is actually a smaller streamline lockable case and I take this case and I put it inside a larger more rugged case.
This also has its own added security by placing locks on the outside. It allows my gun to ensure a safe arrival to wherever my destination is. In the case of a semi-auto basically the same rules apply. You want to have a hard-sided lockable case.
So a bit of rules and procedures that we do when traveling. We take the firearm, ensure it’s safe, then slide it into a soft case, and put it inside of the hard-sided lockable case. Then we lock it up and put a lock at every point of contact on the case. The same rules apply for the long guns. It’s just a larger and longer case to transport a semi-auto or a pump
Now that we’ve discussed the different types of cases that you’ll need when transporting a firearm, hard-sided and lockable, we’ll go into the different variations of locks. There are disadvantages and advantages to every style of lock. A little bit of personal procedures, and what we like to do, I like to carry my own locks that each have an individual key. So the advantage to that is that when my case to my firearm is opened I have to be present or notified. I see that as being a huge advantage and personally recommend that. But another option is a TSA lock. This lock makes it so that a TSA agent is able to open your firearm case, inspect it, without you being present. So the advantage is you don’t have to wait around if there is a period where they have to inspect your firearm because they have the means to open it. But like I said its personal preference.
Now that we’ve talked about the different types of locks, we are talking about where you position your locks on the case. Anywhere your case has a hole for a lock, a lock needs to go. Which brings us to our next topic which is ammunition. When transporting ammunition it needs to have its own hard sided lockable case. With the current TSA Regulations, you can transport approximately eleven pounds depending on the type of ammo you’re carrying. Which, in some instances, it would make sense to ship your ammunition instead of flying with it.
When you are traveling with a firearm you’re not going to be checking it curb-side. You are going to be taking it to the ticketing counter. You are going to declare that you have a firearm and you will receive a declaration that is basically a pledge to them that the gun is in a safe status and that it is unloaded. From there you will either stand by at the ticketing counter or you will go to TSA. TSA will inspect your firearm. They will double check it, look at it, lock it back up, and you’re good to go.
I like to allocate extra time when traveling and that will ensure that any unexpected obstacles don’t interfere with your travel plans, and that will ensure that you have an easy flight to your destination. Traveling with a firearm can seem frustrating, but with the tips provided, the proper equipment, and some research; will ensure that you have success when traveling to your destination and your firearm arrives safely.