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    Transporting Firearms and Ammunition On Airplanes

    Transporting Firearms and Ammunition On Airplanes

    This information was gathered from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). It is important to note that in addition to TSA security regulations, each airline, local, state and international governments may have additional regulations that will vary by location. It is prudent to check with airlines, states and cities that you are traveling out of and into to make sure that you are compliant with all laws and whether there are any limitations or fees which might apply.

    Only unloaded firearms in a locked, hard-sided container may be transported in checked-in baggage. All firearms, ammunition and firearm parts (including firearm frames and receivers) are strictly forbidden in carry-on baggage. Realistic-looking replicas are also prohibited in carry-on and must be packed in checked baggage. Scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked bags.

    To steer clear of problems that could impact your travel plans and/or result in law enforcement action, TSA provides these regulations to aid you in packing firearms and ammunition for airline travel:
    • All firearms must be declared to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
    • The firearm must be unloaded.
    • The firearm must be in a hard-sided container that is locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be pulled open with little effort cannot be brought aboard the aircraft. Note: there are "TSA approved" gun containers available on the market.
    • If firearms are not properly declared or packaged, TSA will provide the bag to law enforcement for resolution with the airline. If the issue is resolved, law enforcement will release the bag to TSA so screening can be completed.
    • TSA must resolve all alarms in checked baggage. If a locked container containing a firearm alarms, TSA will contact the airline, who will then make a reasonable attempt to contact the owner and advise the passenger to go to the screening location. If contact is not made, the container will not be placed on the aircraft.
    • If a locked container alarms during screening and is not marked as containing a declared firearm, TSA will cut the lock in order to resolve the alarm.
    • Travelers should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation.
    • Travelers must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
    • Firearm magazines and ammunition clips must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm (the magazine or clip cannot be loaded in the firearm).
    • Small arms ammunition, including ammunition not exceeding .75 caliber for a rifle or pistol and shotgun shells of any gauge, may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as it follows the packing guidelines described above.
    • TSA prohibits black powder or percussion caps used with black powder.
    • Rifle scopes are not prohibited in carry-on bags and do not need to be in the hard-sided locked checked bag.

    Item Carry-On Checked
    Small arms ammunition, including ammunition up to .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge - Check with your airline or travel agent to see if ammunition is permitted in checked baggage. No Yes
    Small arms ammunitions for personal use must be securely packaged in fiber, wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. No Yes
    BB guns No Yes
    Compressed air guns, including rifles and pistols (to include paintball markers) - Carried in checked luggage without compressed air cylinder attached. No Yes
    Firearms carried as checked baggage MUST be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided container, and declared to the airline at check-in No Yes
    Flare guns - may be carried as checked baggage, but MUST be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided container and declared at check-in. No Yes
    Flares No No
    Gun lighters are permitted in checked baggage only if it DOES NOT contain lighter fluid. No Yes
    Gun powder, including black powder and percussion caps No No
    Parts of guns and firearms No Yes
    Pellet guns No Yes
    Realistic replicas of firearms No Yes
    Starter pistols can only be carried as checked baggage and MUST be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided container and declared at check-in No Yes

    Hard-sided locked containers are available at most safe stores and at some gun stores. Bottom line, always be prepared before your travel date to ensure that you are not delayed or prohibited from traveling to your destination.