Traveling with a Firearm: TSA and Airline Rules to Follow

Sep 16, 2022

When it comes to traveling with firearms, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration in order to ensure a smooth trip. Firstly, it is important to check the guidelines of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as well as the airline that you will be traveling with, as they will have different regulations.

Generally speaking, you will need to declare your firearm at the check-in counter and place it in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage. You will also need to make sure that your firearm is unloaded and that the ammunition is stored separately. It is also a good idea to have a copy of your firearms license as well as any other relevant documentation with you, just in case.

Here are some of the most common airlines and their firearm policies:

General TSA firearm rules

Always check their guidelines for the full details of their regulations. That being said, here are some general rules you need to know when traveling with your firearm:

  1. “Bringing an unloaded firearm with accessible ammunition to the security checkpoint carries the same civil penalty/fine as bringing a loaded firearm to the checkpoint.”
  2. “TSA also considers a firearm to be loaded when both the firearm and ammunition are accessible to the passenger.”
  3. “Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.”
  4. “Declare each firearm each time you present it for transport as checked baggage.”
  5. “Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only.”

What not to do when traveling with a firearm:

In terms of what not to do, perhaps the most important thing is to never attempt to carry your firearm through the airport security checkpoint. This will almost certainly result in delays and could even get you into legal trouble. Also, be sure to keep your firearm locked up at all times while you are traveling. You don’t want anything to happen to your gun while it is out of your sight, so it is better to err on the side of caution.

By following these simple tips, you can help to make sure that your experience traveling with a firearm is as smooth and hassle-free as possible.