There are many reasons you may want to travel by air with your rifle. For example, it may be because you want to participate in shooting sports or hunting in a different location. Regardless of the reason for carrying your rifle, it is essential to follow the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines and the airline to avoid being inconvenienced.
This article will give you crucial tips on what you need to do if you are planning to air travel with your long gun. Also, make sure to follow Ready & Armed as we frequently publish such important topics.
Always Check the TSA Website for Updated Rules for Traveling with Firearms
Before you even pack your rifle, it is essential to first check with the TSA website and read the guidelines they have put in place regarding air traveling with a long gun. The TSA website is usually updated on a regular basis. So, it is always important to check the website to see if there are any new rules.
Many people make the mistake of assuming that they know the rules because they have read them in the past. Rules for air travel with firearms are subject to change so you should always check their website prior to traveling to see if there are any new updates.
Besides reading the rules, make sure you comply with all rules regarding packing and storing guns, magazines, and ammo. The airline will not allow you to board the plane with your rifle if you have not complied with TSA guidelines. So, take your time and read TSA guidelines on their official website before you pack your rifle.
Declare Firearms, Magazines, and Ammo in Checked Luggage
Once you get to the airport, declare in advance all your firearms, magazines, and ammo in the check luggage section. We can’t stress that enough. If you fail to declare your weapons at the check luggage section, then the security officers present may suspect that you are up to no good, and this may warrant them to investigate and ask questions as to your movements.
As a result, you may end up spending more time at the check-in point and, in the process, end up missing your flight. To avoid this, it is recommended that you declare your gun, ammo, and magazines that you are carrying at the check-in section. Make sure the information you give is accurate to prevent raising any suspicion.
Your Weapon Must be Unloaded and Packed in a Hard Locked Case
TSA has put this guideline in place that requires gun holders to unload and pack their guns in a hard-locked case where an unauthorized person cannot access them. TSA introduced this rule to guarantee the safety of the gun holder as well as other people traveling.
Not following the TSA rules can cause airport delays, which can be extremely frustrating and inconvenient. To avoid any delays, make sure you unload your long gun and store it in a hard-locked case as recommended by the airline to be allowed to board the plane.
You Must Securely Pack Your Ammo in a Wooden, Plastic, or Metal Box
All your ammo must be packed safely in a wooden, plastic, or metal box for safety and security purposes. Airlines are very strict and won’t allow passengers to board the plane if they have not packed their ammo safely, as recommended by the TSA.
Most passengers are uncomfortable seeing weapons onboard flights, so airlines do all they can to ensure they are safe and discreet. If you don’t store your ammo safely, one may drop in the airport or plane and cause unnecessary tension among passengers. Storing your ammo in a wooden, plastic, or metal box will not only guarantee their safety but will also keep them out of the public eye.
Magazines Must be Packed in a Secure and Locked Case
Just like ammo, your magazines must also be packed in a secure case that is locked. This guideline was introduced to ensure the safety of passengers and staff in the airport and plane is guaranteed. It also ensures that the magazines don’t fall into the hands of the wrong people or cause unnecessary attention. So, before you go to the airport, ensure all your magazines are well packed in a locked box.
Carry a Printed Copy of the Airline’s Firearm Rules and Verify Compliance During Check-in
All airlines have their own set of rules regarding traveling with a firearm. It is essential to read the rules and comply with them fully when storing your gun, ammo, and magazine.
Besides reading the regulations, it is also recommended that you go a step further and carry a printed copy of the airline’s firearm rules and verify compliance during check-in. Doing so will make things easy for you at check-in, just in case a printed copy is required.
Submit Keys to Airport Security Officers if Requested for Bag Inspection
Security officers may request you to submit your firearm keys for bag inspection to verify that you have indeed complied with their rules. If they ask you to do so, don’t deny or argue with them. Instead, please give them the keys and let them conduct the inspection.
Most airlines usually conduct bag inspections on firearms to ensure that passengers have complied with their rules. They do not inspect your bag with malicious intentions. So, don’t make their work difficult. Instead, comply with their request to make things easy for everybody. If you don’t submit the keys, they will not allow you to board the plane because they may suspect you are carrying something dangerous or illegal.
If you plan to travel with your long gun, you should read the rules put in place by TSA and the airlines you are planning to use and make sure that you comply with them fully. Airlines are very strict and will not allow any passengers to board the plane with their rifles if they fail to comply with all the rules that have been put in place.
The tips given above are some of the basic things required to comply with while traveling your rifle. However, as these rules and regulations are constantly changing and being amended, you must check for updates every time before traveling.