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Traveling with my ar

1040 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  tattedjew
Hey guys just had a question i will be flying to maryland in april and was planing on taking my ar with me as there is a nice outdoor range close by. Was wondering if anyone had any tips on flying with a gun i have already read all the guidelines by the airlines and TSA although i am still unsure about what kind of locks i should use on the case also not to sure about mag limit in the state of maryland as all i have are 30 rounders and my brother told me they have a 20 round max
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In MD, it is not illegal to possess a 30 round magazine, just don't sell it to someone while you are here :) .

I've never traveled by air with a firearm so I won't be much help there.

I work for Tsa, each airport is slightly different in how they handle checked firearms. I can't speak for your home airport, but here's my advice based on my knowledge. Firearms must be unloaded and placed in a hard sided case that is locked. If you are traveling with ammunition, it must be secured however, it can be in the case with the firearm. Magazines, manufacturers packaging, and bullet boxes that are designed to hold, carry, or store ammunition securely can be used, I've seen altoid tins, shoe boxes. And large ammo cans used. These are not acceptable. Locks are up to you. Any lock thAt you want to use is up to your discretion, Tsa has a set of master keys designed for sentry locks. They will have. TSA ###. Printed on them. However, if you use a lock that is not Designated as such. Be prepared to be called back to the counter with the key. Should your rifle case need to be opened. Also, a firearm declaration form has to be filled out and included inside the case, this is available from your airline rep. Any other questions feel free to ask, I'll watch this thread.
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Plan to arrive at least a few minutes early. Smile at the nice person at the ticket counter, and say (you might want to write this down) "Good morning! I would like to declare an unloaded firearm in my checked baggage."

DO NOT SAY "I have a gun."

As Bo said, do not have ammo in magazines- cartridges are exposed to damage. Any ammo- in the maker's box.

Airline staff will have you open gun case, may ask you to show unloaded, fill out the declaration form which goes INSIDE the case, close, lock, and usually hand off to TSA.

At your destination, case may be waiting in the baggage office for pickup. OK to open case to insure rifle is in there, but would not take out of the case anywhere near airport.
Traveling is half the battle. Make sure you can legally be in possession of the rifle in MD. Not sure if they require any sort if FOID or not but better safe than sorry. Also, pray your flight does not get diverted to New Jersey. People have been arrested in airports here for the crime of claiming their luggage when a flight screw up landed them in New Jersey unexpectedly.
Ok thanks guys bo you answered the main question i had and that was the locks. In you opinion would you go with tsa locks or not as i have heard that not only tsa has the master keys. Had my brother check and he said there is no problem with having an ar in maryland as of now
Do not use the TSA mastered locks on a gun case. It will be checked by TSA before you close it up, lock it and keep the keys.

Keep the TSA mastered locks for your suitcase- not that they do any good. They are low security locks to begin with, and copies of the master keys are all over.

BTW, you DO know you could just ship the rifle to yourself in c/o your brother? You can use UPS or US Mail. Since there is no transfer of ownership, does not have to go to a FFL.
I second c3, however. Each airport is different, we never see passengers here, our baggage system is a 5 min. Conveyor ride from where the passengers are, I would use a master lock or 2 on your firearm case. Tsa locks are weak, I wouldn't trust my at with one. My socks yes,
What we do here. Is the airline usually has the passenger hang around the counter for 25 minutes or so, check your firearm early, no guarantee it will be opened, but just in case you have to be available. We cannot cut rifle case locks. And it wot be cleared to fly without locks.
Gotcha... Thank you bo and c3 for the advise i am also gonna print out and carry the tsa and airline guidelines incase i run into anyone that dosent know what to do ie: ticket agent and i am goung to put my name and flight numbers with my phone number on the outside of the case incase they need to reach me to open the case
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