Unfortunately, reality doesn’t allow that and many of us have to fly to locations for hunting adventures. With things the way they are, you need to pay very careful attention to how you prepare to fly when traveling with your firearm. The most important thing to remember is to check with the airline in advance to know exactly what procedures to follow.
The Transportation Security Authority (TSA) has very strict guidelines when it comes to these matters. Here is a summary of key regulatory requirements to transport firearms, firearm parts or ammunition in checked baggage on most airlines:- All firearms must be declared to the air carrier during check-in at the ticket counter.
The firearm must be unloaded. The firearm must be carried in a locked, hard-sided container. It is preferred that you provide the key or combination to the screener if it is necessary to open the case, and then remain present during screening to take back possession of the key after the case is cleared.
If you are not present and the screener must open your case, the TSA and/or airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact you. If this is unsuccessful, the case will not be placed on the plane since unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) are not permitted on aircraft due to Federal regulations.
This shouldn’t be the case, however, because you must accompany your firearm to screening. Any ammunition transported must be securely packed in plastic, wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition such as cardboard. Most airlines will accept the original box the ammunition was purchased in.
Firearm magazines/clips do not satisfy the packaging requirement unless they provide a complete and secure enclosure of the ammunition. The ammunition may also be located in the same locked, hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as it is properly packed as described above. Again, check before you fly though, as some airlines will insist ammunition travel in separate baggage.
Powder/propellant and percussion caps used with black-powder type firearms are not permitted in carry-on or checked baggage. Some airlines, as private businesses, have imposed additional restrictions or requirements, such as limiting the number of guns that can be transported in a single case, or providing different standards under which gun cases may or may not be exempt from excess baggage limitations.
Especially for international flights, many airlines follow industry guidelines that limit ammunition to 11 lbs. 50 pounds of ammo. Under TSA regulations, ammunition may be packed in the same locked container as the unloaded firearm, but airline rules may differ. It is a good idea to check out airline guidelines as much as several weeks in advance to allow time to prepare for delays.
Airline ApprovedThe Air Transport Association (ATA) of America issued specifications for the packaging of airline cargo, designated ATA Specification 300. The objective is to establish standards for a case that would hold up for a minimum of 100 roundtrip airline flights. The detailed specifications involve design, material content and environmental tolerance characteristics. What does having an ATA case designation mean? This means the hardware, such as handles, latches and locks, can withstand abuse and mishandling without danger of breakage.