Before heading to the airport with the intention of traveling with a firearm, it’s important that travelers do some research. Since this isn’t an everyday occurrence for most firearm owners, there may be some aspects of the law that are unfamiliar even to the most responsible of gun owners.
In light of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) release of in-depth requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition via commercial air travel, our Florida gun law attorneys are offering insight on everything gun owners need to know.
TSA Requirements for Transporting Firearms & Ammunition
Several requirements that must be met when traveling with a firearm. For starters, guns can only be transported in a commercial aircraft via checked baggage. When using this method of transport, one must place the firearm in a secure, hard-sided locked case that completely conceals the weapon. This also rings true for any firearm parts, such as barrels, magazines, and so on.
Additionally, TSA mandates that passengers officially declare the firearm per the airline’s policy, often involving filling out a written form. This declaration not only makes the airline aware of the gun, but ensures that it is unloaded. Once the firearm is declared, it will be subject to inspection just as all checked bags. Since it is in a locked container, the traveler will need to listen for any announcements in the airport requesting his or her assistance opening the container. If the passenger does not show up to open the case, it will not be permitted on the aircraft.
Ammunition is subject to similar requirements as firearms, though there are some notable differences. All ammunition clips must be appropriately packaged, either in the original manufacturer’s packaging or another secure box. Depending on the type of ammunition the box can either be placed in the checked bag itself or within the locked firearm box. Airlines may have specific guidelines on how to package ammunition, so reading up on such policies is essential.
Other Key Considerations
If a traveler fails to honor any regulations, he or she could face criminal charges. That said, as long as one complies with each of the regulations outlined above, as well as with any local or state gun laws that restrict how firearms can be carried, the transport of firearms and ammunition is protected under federal law. However, that does not mean one will be free of the threat of criminal arrest or the threat of such action. For this reason, the gun owner must also have any required license and permits on his or her person so that they are easily accessible should law enforcement request them. Additionally, being knowledgeable about all aspects of gun law is extremely important, both for operating within the confines of the law and for protecting one’s rights. In some situations, simply shipping the firearms and/or ammunition may be preferable.
If you have questions about traveling with a firearm or ammunition, or if you have been wrongfully charged with a crime after meeting these requirements, our team is here to help. Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Florida gun law attorneys to get the answers you need to stay protected.