Traveling During the Summer?

Summer holidays are fast approaching. That means many of you will be going on trips and flying on airplanes. There are some very important things you must remember if you are flying with your firearms. Although we have discussed this before, we thought it would be a good time to remind you of the precautions you must take and the laws you must follow when flying with your guns and ammunition.

Flying and Firearms

Traveling on commercial airlines during the summer or any time of year can be stressful, especially if you want to make sure that you can protect your family at your ultimate destination and bring your firearm with you. First, make sure that you can lawfully possess and carry your firearm in your destination state. If not, consider traveling to a state that supports your Second Amendment rights. If you have no choice because your family lives in a state that you cannot lawfully carry, leave your firearm at home.

Second, check both the TSA and your airline’s websites to learn the current rules for traveling with your firearm. Each airline has its own rules for traveling with your firearm and you must comply with the rules of the airline, the TSA regulations, and all local, state, and federal laws. As each airline handles baggage with firearms differently, make sure you ask where you should retrieve your bag at your destination. Some display the bags with the other luggage on the carousel, while others make you retrieve it from their baggage office.

Diverted Flights

If you are traveling with your firearm and your plane gets diverted, you need to know if you can legally possess and concealed carry a firearm in your new destination. If you retrieve your bag containing a firearm at the airport where your flight was diverted and it is illegal for you to possess a firearm or conceal a firearm, you may find local law enforcement watching as you pull the bag off the carousel and moving in to arrest you. If you cannot or if you do not know for certain that you can lawfully possess and carry your firearm in the state where your plane has landed when diverted, do not claim your bag from the airline on the carousel or in the baggage office. Make the airline retain possession until you reach your ultimate destination or return home.

Traveling In or Out of Florida

In Florida, you cannot carry a firearm either open or concealed in the airport except for carrying it in a locked container in your baggage for the purpose of checking it at the ticket counter or once you have retrieved it from the carousel. Sometimes people accidentally enter the TSA screening checkpoint with a loaded firearm in their carry-on. Oftentimes, people forget that they are carrying in their bag and mistakes occur. Unfortunately, this is both a federal and state crime in Florida. The federal standard of knowledge is not the same as the Florida standard. Under federal law, if you knew or should have known that the gun was in your bag, that is enough to be convicted. Florida law requires actual knowledge.

Under Florida law, carrying a firearm into TSA screenings is also a crime. You will likely be charged with carrying a firearm in a place prohibited by law under Florida Statute 790.06 Subsection 12. This is a second-degree misdemeanor under Florida law. Remember, though, under Florida law, a prosecutor will have to prove you had actual knowledge that a firearm was in your bag.

Other Types of Weapons

Finally, remember that chemical weapon sprays are not allowed in carry-on baggage. Often women who have small containers attached to their keychains forget to remove these sprays prior to going through the screening at the airport. If you place a chemical spray in your checked baggage, it must also be declared and you should make sure you can lawfully possess and carry it at your final destination.

U.S. LawShield members, should you have any questions, please feel free to give U.S. LawShield a call and ask to speak with your Independent Program Attorney.