New Air Travel Requirements


Published: January - 2003

Another airline/gun matter emerged as this issue went to press - namely, how are guns and ammunition going to be handled in light of the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirement that checked bags be left unlocked. According to TSA spokesperson Brian Doyle, traveling hunters should do pretty much what they have in the past when checking in with a firearm - that is, they should declare their firearm at the check-in counter and then lock the case. Airline personnel will then inform airport security that the bag or gun case has already been inspected.

As for ammunition, Doyle says hunters should declare it as usual, and then leave the bag containing it unlocked, using instead a special "tamper-evident" locking device provided by the check-in clerk. Again, the airline is supposed to inform security about the ammunition in the bag. If security chooses to inspect your checked bag anyway, they will remove the orange, tamper-evident locking device and replace it with a blue "cable lock" to reseal the bag once they have inspected it. As for locking your ammo in an ammo box inside your checked bag, don't do that. If you want to secure it in any way, use a tamper-evident locking device provided by the check-in clerk.

As neat and tidy as all this sounds, we wouldn't be doing our jobs if we didn't tell you that we got the distinct impression from Doyle that TSA has not completely thought all this through yet. They could not tell us, for example, exactly what the procedure would be for airline personnel to inform security about inspected gun cases and bags containing declared ammo. He was also not clear on what would happen if TSA wants to inspect a locked gun case. Will they break into it? "We will probably be adjusting procedures as we move forward," is the way Doyle put it at press time.

........(continued)

 
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