Let's talk about traveling with firearms for a minute
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
This morning we had another incident in which a loaded weapon was discovered in a passenger's bag. This is the 12th firearm discovered at the security checkpoint by TSA officers at MEM in 2016. A total of 28 were found at MEM last year.
The long & short of this specific incident went like this (from the the Transportation Security Administration's official release):
On Wed., June 8 at approximately 6 a.m. , a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm was discovered in a passenger’s carry-on bag at one of the TSA security checkpoints. TSA immediately alerted airport police, who took possession of the bag and cited the passenger on a state charge.
While firearms may be transported in checked baggage (provided they are declared to the airline, in a proper carrying case and unloaded), firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags.
For more information we highly encourage travelers to check out the official protocols on the TSA website, but here’s a summary of the TSA guidelines:
- All firearms must be declared to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
- The firearm must be unloaded.
- The firearm must be in a hard-sided container that is locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be pulled open with little effort cannot be brought aboard the aircraft.
- If firearms are not properly declared or packaged, TSA will provide the checked bag to law enforcement for resolution with the airline. If the issue is resolved, law enforcement will release the bag to TSA so screening may be completed.
- TSA must resolve all alarms in checked baggage. If a locked container containing a firearm alarms, TSA will contact the airline, who will make a reasonable attempt to contact the owner and advise the passenger to go to the screening location. If contact is not made, the container will not be placed on the aircraft.
- If a locked container alarms during screening and is not marked as containing a declared firearm, TSA will cut the lock in order to resolve the alarm.
- Travelers should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation.
- Travelers must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
- Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm.
- Small arms ammunition, including ammunition not exceeding .75 caliber for a rifle or pistol and shotgun shells of any gauge, may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as it follows the packing guidelines described above.
So here's the deal
If you plan to transport a firearm, it is very important to notify the agent when you get to the ticket counter that you have a gun (and any ammunition, if applicable) in your checked bag. The agent will have you fill out a form to be placed in your checked bag, along with a copy for yourself. We recommend passengers who wish to transport firearms arrive early and stay in the area of the ticket counter until their checked bag has been screened by TSA behind the ticket counter. This is in case the bag sets off an alarm and TSA agents have to open it and any questions need to be answered.
The main thing (besides common sense safety) is no surprises. Airport security does not like surprises, and really does not like surprises when it comes to guns. Just keep everything above boards – tell the ticket agent exactly what you’re checking; be willing to take a little more time to answer any questions; don’t get frustrated with the process.
Thanks. Now lets have a great summer.