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Flying with a firearm – the do’s and don’ts

PHOENIX — Planning on packing heat while flying out of town for the holidays?

The Transportation Security Administration wants you to know a few things about flying with a firearm.

Number One: Don’t try to bring a gun through security.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but in 2014, the TSA confiscated more than 2,000 guns nationwide at security checkpoints.

“Just here in Phoenix (Sky Harbor) we found about 80 guns at the security checkpoint,” TSA Spokesperson Nico Melendez said.

Melendez said under no circumstances can a passenger carry-on a gun; it has to be under the plane.

Number Two: Properly pack your gun.

In order to check a firearm onto a plane, it must be properly packed.

“If you want to take your weapon with you, you just put it in its checked bag,” Melendez said. “It has to be in the proper carrying case, it has to be locked, and it has to be declared to the airline.”

TSA regulations state the firearm cannot be loaded and magazines must be secured in the same way as the gun. Cases must have a hard shell and be locked. Ammunition can be stored in the same case as long as it is in the original packaging and the gun is not loaded.

Number Three: It’s a lot cheaper to follow the rules.

Firearm cases can cost as little as $10 and a cheap padlock can run as low as a couple of dollars. Melendez said that price is small in comparison to the legal ramifications you could face if you do not follow TSA regulations regarding firearms.

“If we find it at the security checkpoint, we notify law enforcement and depending on what city or state you’re in, it is as much as an arrest in some cities,” he said.

In Arizona, Melendez said police give passengers with weapons the option of leaving their firearm with the responding officers or a family member but the laws can be stricter in other states.

No matter what state you are in, trying to carry a firearm or other weapon through a TSA security checkpoint will almost certainly cause a delay according to Melendez.

“So many people are coming to the airport anyway,” he said. “If we find a gun it slows the process down, not only for the one passenger with the gun, but for everybody else in the line because that lane is closed temporarily and it impacts the rest of the travelers.”
Melendez said any traveler that has questions about flying with a firearm can find more information on the TSA website.