When I competed on the U.S. Customs National Pistol Team, I traveled all over the United States. There is much to abide by regarding air travel and transporting weapons.
For air travel, the weapons need the source of ammunition removed and they need to be made safe and empty. This means, that when the airline inspects the weapon, they want to find no ammunition in or around the gun. It must be noted that ammunition cannot be transported as individual rounds in a bag or a sack, for this could create the possibility of an exposed primer being struck and the round igniting. Therefore, rounds must be flown in such a way that every primer is protected, i.e. carried in the original ammo box, in your checked in luggage, but not in the same case as the gun. With that being said, the weapon must be declared to the airline when you check in for your flight. Historically, even though I called ahead of time to verify the airline’s procedure with whom I would fly, the person I spoke with on the phone before travel will definitely not be the person encountered when I checked in. I learned to exercise great patience! I also learned, therefore, I could not do a self check in; an airline representative must verify our weapons. This takes extra time, so I calculated it into my already early arrival at the airport. I also had to brace myself for all the prevailing security agents to double check my guns and ammo. This meant, locking and unlocking my gun case I so carefully packed in my suitcase and showing the safe and empty weapon to all the officials who asked to see. In my experiences, nothing ever ran as planned, half the airline people knew how to process checked in weapons, half did not. Some just wanted to see my competition weapons and, under the authority of their employed positions, they could. So, allow for extra time, make your agency proud, demonstrate cool collectedness under pressure. And breathe!
NRA Firearms Instructor – Nancy Rothschild
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