Fear & Loading: Airlines Modifying Gun Travel Policies

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posted on May 11, 2017
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Delta Airlines has announced flyers who travel with guns in their checked luggage will no longer be able to find the firearm’s case—or a bag that contains a locked handgun case—on an airport carousel. Owners must reclaim their unloaded firearm by presenting valid government picture identification at the carrier’s baggage service office. 

“The airline will now have special tags to alert ground handlers to not put bags carrying weapons on the general carousel,” according to Miami, FL’s, NBC 6 TV. Several other airlines told The Sun-Sentinel Times they were also considering a change, although a spokesman for American Airlines said, “American has not changed its policy on checked firearms. Everything stands the same.” When I flew with that company late last month, my gun bag was tagged with a red “Return to BSO” label, and it was being held in the baggage service office when I arrived. Taking possession required producing an ID, not the claim ticket.

Know the rules before your trip. NRA-ILA has some good tips to keep in mind anytime you’re flying with a firearm. The Transportation Security Administration offers others, but remember, airlines can enforce additional regulations that can delay or even cancel your departure unless you’re prepared.

In addition to a locked hard case, Air Canada for example, also requires firearms “Must be rendered inoperable by means of a secure locking device mechanism (i.e. a trigger lock), but only after the check-in process has been completed…” You’ll also be charged a $59 (USD) firearm handling charge.

Delta Airlines’ packing policy reflects that of most American carriers. “Firearms must be packed in a locked manufacturer's hard-sided container specifically designed for the firearm, a locked hard–sided gun case or a locked hard-sided piece of luggage,” its website explains. “Handguns may be packed in a locked hard-sided gun case, and then packed inside an unlocked soft-sided piece of luggage. However, a Conditional Acceptance Tag must be used in this case.”

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