After two years of aggressive public education on prohibited items, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) continues to struggle with communicating the issue of how to properly transport guns and ammunition aboard commercial air carriers. In recent months, reports have included at least three or four gun incidents each day across the country. Checkpoint screeners have done an excellent job in detecting the weapons and keeping them off airplanes, but each situation causes delays in the screening process. Another related cause of delays is the frequent occurrence of weapons not properly declared and packed. Baggage screeners often find guns-loaded and unloaded-amidst clothing and other items in checked bags. Since most instances involve travelers who are not aware of the gun transport rules or who have unknowingly presented the weapon at a checkpoint, the TSA hopes a massive public information campaign will help reduce the number of incidents and resulting unnecessary delays.
TSA is reaching out to gun dealers, sports associations, law enforcement organizations and others to help get the message out concerning the rules for transporting firearms, irearm parts and ammunition. The Federal requirements regarding travel with firearms and ammunition aboard commercial air carrier are listed below. For additional information, go to the TSA Website at http://www.tsa.gov/public
- Firearms are prohibited from carry-on baggage.
- Firearms must be checked with the air carrier as luggage.
- Firearms and ammunition must be declared orally or in writing in accordance with the air carrier's procedures.
- All firearms must be unloaded.
- The firearm must be carried in a hard-sided container.
- The container must be locked and only the passenger may retain the key or combination.
- Ammunition is prohibited from carry-on luggage.
- Ammunition may not be carried loose.
- Ammunition must travel in the manufacturer's packaging or other packaging suitable for transport.
- Ammunition may be packed in the same hard-sided, locked case as the firearm as long as it complies with packaging requirements as stated above and the air carrier permits it to be packed with the firearm.
- Firearm parts may not be transported in carry-on baggage.
Failure to fully comply with these requirements may result in civil and/or criminal penalties.
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