Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Flying with firearms

From LewRockwell.com, on the nitty-gritty of flying on commercial passenger aircraft with firearms:
... In 2007, I began attempting to fly to various destinations while in possession of firearms. I have faired rather better than Mr. Gilmore in terms of my encounters with government functionaries and am pleased to say that while many of our freedoms have suffered unconscionable assaults in recent history, the right to keep and bear arms has proven rather resilient… even when exercised in an environment that most people incorrectly consider to be the pinnacle of a "gun free" zone.

The plain fact is, in the United States of America we have the right not only to possess firearms but also the right to travel with them to any destination we see fit. The Firearm Owner’s Protection Act of 1986 contains the Safe Passage provision, which explicitly elucidates that citizens have the right to journey state to state with firearms as long as they are locked and unloaded. This freedom of travel is unquestionable… even in instances where a party may cross borders and pass through jurisdictions with varied rules and regulations. As many of us who live along or near the Eastern seaboard know, we can drive through a state like New York with firearms even if they are not legal in the state of New York… the jumble of incongruous and sometimes draconian local laws is not a concern for the people who are merely passing by.

Air travel is accorded the same treatment under Federal Law, with the national carriers being treated more or less like interstate highways. No matter where the on-ramps and off-ramps are located, as long as gun owners have their steel locked and unloaded, nothing is off-limits. There are some tips and pointers, however, of which one should be aware in order to make the process and painless and straightforward as possible.

Federal Standards

The Federal Government, primarily in the form of the Transportation Security Administration, sets forth a series of guidelines and policies concerning how passengers my fly with firearms. For the most part, these standards are rather loose. The government leaves it up to the airlines to specify any additional considerations that they see fit. That can sometimes be an issue (that is a topic which we will cover shortly) and while I’m never a champion of government interference with private entities, I wouldn’t be averse to one single "armed passenger’s rights" standard imposed across all airlines. As common carriers, they are subject to some regulation. Keeping all parties in line with the bare minimum of rules as specified by the TSA would be a fine thing, in this author’s opinion.

According to federal policy, passengers may travel with firearms as long as they are unloaded and packed in a fully hard-sided case that is locked and cannot be accessed by anyone except the passenger who is checking said bag. Federal law also allows for eleven pounds of ammunition. The TSA policies do not say much about how your ordinance is to be packed, save for a prohibition of any "exposure" of the rounds. Ammunition is a key sticking point with many of the airlines, however, and we will cover this shortly. ...

Article here. Worth a read, especially if you've never flown with firearms before.

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