How To Travel With a Pistol and Not End Up Locked in a Room With a TSA Agent

Nic Neufeld /
Nic Neufeld /

With rules and regulations changing frequently regarding traveling with firearms, who better to talk to than a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent, the source of enforcement?

4WWL in New Orleans spoke with agents at Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, Louisiana. Agents say that 15 people have had firearms taken from them this year alone. In most of these cases, confiscation could be avoided, as could the forced extra time with a TSA agent.

First off, guns need to be completely unloaded and stored in a locked, hard-sided case inside your checked luggage. These cases need to be declared when you check-in. The person responsible for the firearm should retain the key to the lock and not give it to anyone for any reason.

Secondly, ammunition needs to be stored separately from the firearm, ideally in a different box. While they can be stored in the same main box, they need to have multiple steps between access, locking, and loading.

Third, don’t bring it to the TSA checkpoint. Even if you are planning on checking the bag, this needs to be done at check-in. As such, leave extra time to do so. With many airlines and counter employees opting to inspect your storage upon declaration, it’s better to be early and prepared than late and caught with your pants down.

If caught with a firearm inside the airport or at a TSA checkpoint, fines can reach $15k, and TSA-PreCheck privileges can be permanently revoked. Additionally, federal charges can be filed, as we have seen in multiple incidents.

Always remember to double-check the rules and regulations of the state you are flying out of and into. There’s nothing worse than discovering that you were completely legal in Florida and are now subject to felonious arrest in NYC upon landing.