Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How To Legally Fly On A Commercial Airplane With A Handgun

How To Legally Fly On A Commercial Airplane With A Handgun

It was recently reported in the media that a Michigan judge pled guilty to the misdemeanor offense of attempting to board an airplane with a pistol in his carry-on bag. As such, a casual observer to the story might have concluded that it is illegal to fly with a handgun. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is legal. However, there is a right way and a wrong way.

The wrong way is to carry it through the TSA check-point at the airport. In recent years, many have been caught doing exactly that at DTW Airport (Detroit). Among those persons were the following: a Michigan city Deputy Mayor, a Michigan city sitting Police Chief, a Wayne County judge, and of course the recently discovered Michigan Appellate Court judge.

Before even considering travelling with a handgun, it should go without saying that you should be in legal possession of the firearm and that you are traveling to a destination that allows you to possess it there upon your arrival.

Next, you should consult with both the Transportation Safety Administration's (TSA) web site and your specific airline's web site for special instructions. I did exactly that and placed my completely unloaded firearm and unloaded magazine into a compliant and lockable storage device.

I used a metal MiniVault Micro-Safe. No ammunition was in the metal container. My ammo was in it's original OEM box. Both the box of ammo and my locked container were packed into the same piece of luggage. Both were positioned such that upon opening the suitcase, they could be easily located. Further, I placed a combination lock on my suitcase.

When I arrived to the airport. I went to the my carrier's reservation desk to see an airline agent. I verbally informed her that I had a firearm to declare. She asked me how it was stored and then instructed me to open the suitcase. She asked about the contents of storage container.

I confirmed that a pistol was present inside of it and that no ammo was in the vault. She then asked if I had any ammo. I showed her the OEM box and she was satisfied. She then provided me with a bright orange tag for me to sign and to attest that my gun was unloaded. After she confirmed that the tag was signed, she instructed me to put the tag physically atop of the vault. I then locked up the suitcase and she then took possession of it to ship to my destination city.

Please keep in mind that all airports are different - even through the same airline. For example, while going through the same procedure in SAT (Texas) for my flight back to DTW (Detroit), an additional step was required. In that case, after I signed the orange tag, the airline required additional screening via a TSA agent. In short, they swabbed the insides of my luggage with a probe hooked up to a machine.

The additional procedure was quick but it required a free TSA agent to be available for the check. So, the moral of that point is that if you are flying with a handgun, you should allow extra time before your flight is scheduled for take-off.

In the end, you will need to jump through a few hoops to legally travel with your pistol. However, if it is important for you to have a firearm for personal protection while on vacation, it is worth the hassle.

For more info on lawful and responsible firearm ownership, visit our blog on the Internet: Legally Armed In Detroit.

About The Author
Rick Ector is a National Rifle Association credentialed Firearms Trainer, who provides Michigan CCW Class training in Detroit for students at his firearms school - Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit.

Ector is a recognized expert in firearm safety and has been featured extensively in the national and local media: Associated Press, UPI, Fox News, USA Today, New York Times, NRAnews, Guns Digest, Tactical-Life, The Truth About Guns, The Politics Daily, Fox News Detroit, The Detroit News, The Detroit Examiner, WJLB, WGPR, and the UrbanShooterPodcast.

For more info about free shooting lessons for women and Michigan CCW Classes, please contact:

Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit
Phone: 313.733.7404

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