The holiday season in December is fast approaching. Even though more people are staying home this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there are still some that will take to the sky to visit family and friends.
If you are going to be traveling by airplane, but still want to take your daily concealed carry firearm with you, there are some rules you should know. Here are some tips on traveling through an airport with your gun this holiday season.
You’re Allowed to Transport Your Firearm
The Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) allows you to take your gun lawfully over state lines as long as you have the right permits to own that firearm. The act is meant to protect you from local restrictions while traveling. Keep in mind that you’ll need to check with the state you are going to so you can learn what their carrying laws are.
You may need to obtain a special out-of-state permit for non-residents. The best way to check on the laws in every state is through the NRA’s website which allows you to see exactly what states recognize a concealed carry permit. It also goes deeper into specific regulations such as whether you can carry in a restaurant. Getting yourself familiar with the laws in the state you are going to is the right idea.
At the Airport: The TSA Rules
The Transportation Security Administration details all the rules about traveling with your gun at the airport. When you get to the airport, you’ll need to have your gun already unloaded and locked in a safe hard case. Don’t attempt to do this at the airport. You can keep your ammo in the same case, but make sure it’s in the original box packaging or a sturdy ammo box, and not just loose in the case — that’s a big no-no.
Next, your gun case will have to go into your checked baggage. You can’t take it in a carry-on item on the plane because that’s not allowed. When you get to the ticket agent to check your bag, all you have to say is that you have a “firearm to declare.” Then you’ll fill out an orange declaration card with a TSA agent right at the counter, or they may take you to a specific TSA checkpoint.
Keep the key to the safe hard case on your person at all times. The TSA might request the key or combination to the case in order to inspect the weapon, but they should give it back to you after doing so.
A good tip is to give yourself plenty of time to check your bag when you are carrying a firearm with you. Get to the airport earlier than usual so that you aren’t in a rush. The lines will be long — especially during the busiest travel days closer to Christmas.
Pick Up Your Checked Baggage Quickly
This probably goes without saying, but you don’t want to dawdle in picking up your luggage at the baggage carousel after your flight. That means skip the Cinnabon counter and Starbucks to get there as quickly as possible to grab your bag.
Lots of lawfully abiding citizens fly with their guns every year. Just make sure you follow all the rules and regulations so that you don’t have any problems when traveling this holiday season.