Of course, you read the headline. I’m not saying that you CAN’T bring a gun to the airport. But TSA agents have been experiencing a lot more people bringing guns to the airport. So my advice is centered on being INFORMED about what you can and should not do if you do choose to travel by plane with a firearm.
An article recently published by The Charlotte Observer in North Carolina implored travelers to keep their guns at home. Capt. Gregg Collins, who leads the airport law enforcement division for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, said the amount of guns brought to the airport has increased the past four years. The article says people brought 26 guns to the airport in 2013 and 44 in 2014.
In 2015 that number was only 39, but then in 2016 went way up to 55. The number dipped to 39 in 2015, before it jumped back up to 55 last year. Collins said this year’s numbers are on pace with last year’s, and the airport has averaged a gun detected each week.
Collins guesses that the rise in people bringing guns to the airport stems from the simple increase in the number of guns being purchased in the past few years. Out of the 17 people who have brought their guns to the airport so far in 2017, only 12 of them had concealer carry permits. This means that roughly a third of people are bringing guns because they probably don’t know what they are supposed to do. A portion of them probably legitimately forget that their gun is in their luggage, but the problem with that is that a gun is not something that anyone should be forgetting about.
Even if bringing a gun to the airport is an accident, you still can (and likely will) face steep fines that can be $3,000 to $10,000. You can also be arrested. Airplane passengers are only allowed to fly with a firearm if they are in checked bags and unloaded. Ammunition must be stored separately.
What to do if you travel by plane with a weapon:
- Store it. If you don’t have a safe spot to store you gun while you are traveling, check with your local gun shop or the gun shop you bought the gun from. Some of them might be willing to store the gun for you.
- Keep it in a firearm-only bag. When at the airport, it must be in hard-sided case that is fully locked and secured. Keep the key with you at all times. The TSA agent will probably want you to open the case.
- Pack ammunition separately.
- Inform TSA that there is a gun in the bag they are about to check. You will need to fill out some paperwork.
- Check on the firearm laws of the state or country you’re traveling to. When you get your bag and get in a vehicle, you’ll need to be in compliance.
- Gunpowder is not permitted in any luggage.
- Parts of a firearm are not permitted on board the plane.
We also just heard about this case, in which an air marshal left her gun in an airplane bathroom! Oops! A federal air marshal on a transatlantic flight left her gun in the airplane bathroom. Another passenger discovered it and handed it over to the plane crew, who then returned it to the agent days later. Needless to say, with so much negative attention focused on the conduct of airline crews these days, none of the people involved in the incident gave much detail about it. Ina head-smacking twist, CNN reports this statement: “A former federal air marshal familiar with the situation told CNN that newly hired air marshals do not currently receive on-the-job training and said this incident might have been avoided if the individual had been paired with a senior air marshal.”
No on-the-job training? Even McDonald’s french fry flippers gt on the job training. It’s utterly ridiculous that an air marshal who is entrusted with a GUN doesn’t get any. And at least for this particular agent, it appears she needs it.