Thursday, July 23, 2015

Travel Security: Flying With A Weapon

I don’t usually do a lot of travelling. I mean, I leave town often enough, but to actually get on a plane maybe once a year. “I’ve already figured out the flying with a gun” thing. It’s really quite simple but check with the airline you fly on for their procedures and policies. I'll cover that later.
I know that airports and airlines have their own security but here are some other things to think about when flying, going by bus or train.
Think about how you look. Like any other public place you want to blend in. Don’t wear something that may single you out or make you stand out. While in the military, we were briefed often about flying on commercial airlines and this is what we were told also. Don’t stand out and don’t look like military personnel.
As you prepare for a flight remember that you should dress appropriately. I know it’s a hassle taking off your shoes to go through security and you’re tempted to wear flip flops or sandals but don’t. If for any reason you need to evacuate that aircraft you should have on good shoes. I would recommend long pants over shorts as well. If the aircraft actually crashes, which is quite a slim chance, you need to be dressed better as a survivor. But what could more than likely happen, there could be an emergency where the plane would need a quick egress. If you were in a field somewhere it would be nice to have on long pants and good shoes. Don’t wear any T-shirts with “controversial” sayings or even military or law enforcement logos. I say this not to be politically correct, but for your safety. If your aircraft happens to be involved in a high-jacking or an attempted criminal activity, you don’t want to be singled out by your attire. The military used to make their members travel in uniform. That is no longer the case. I also make sure I have a belt on my pants to not only hold up my pants, but as an emergency tourniquet or other device. When I was in the military not only did I dress to blend in when I flew, I put my ID card in my sock.
I would suggest going through your purse or wallet and only carrying what you need. I bought a small wallet that I could put around my neck on a chain for additional security. I only would bring what I need. I would suggest:
1 credit card
No social security card.
Passport, if out of country
1 form of identification, probably a driver’s license (if you’re travelling with a weapon don’t forget your concealed carry license)
As little information as possible.
Some cash
Often I will travel with two wallets. One around my neck with the above items and the bulk of cash. I have prepared what is called a “mugger’s wallet.” This is a disposable wallet that you can be happy to give up in the event you’re robbed. It contains:
Non-essential identification. (If you choose)
Fake credit cards
Empty gift cards
Old membership cards (possibly, if there is not too much info on the card)
A little cash (I keep it under $10 in 1’s and a 5)
I use an old worn wallet so it looks authentic.
When you receive credit card offers in the mail often these offers have a plastic card. You decide if you want to use the ones with your actual name on them. Unless you look real close, some of these offer cards look like a credit card,
Beside the neck pouch, there are ankle pouches, and money belts. Explore these items to see what works for you.
Sometimes I may fly to a city or state that has no reciprocity with the state I have my weapons license from. In those cases I fly with a tactical pen. It can even be taken with your carry-on bags. Now that I’ve said that let me give a caveat to it. If you decide to take a tac pen in your carry-on bags be prepared to lose it. I’ve flown with a pen and have known many people who have, but there is always the chance that it could be singled out and confiscated. So make sure it’s not a $85 pen that you can’t part with. There are some good tac pens out there for $10 or less. So be aware.
Firearms can be in checked baggage but must be declared. The rules are the gun cannot be loaded, and must be in a locked hard case. I would keep the magazines out of the weapon and unloaded.
From the TSA’s website:
“It’s important to know that even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane. Also, please note that some dangerous items below are illegal in certain states and passengers will be subject to state law. It is a passenger’s responsibility to be aware that origination and destination cities may have local laws prohibiting the possession of these items.”
As of April 2015, no knives are permitted in carry-on baggage. Lighters are not even approved unless in a specific container.
Also from the TSA website:
“Small arms ammunition, including ammunition up to .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge- Check with your airline or travel agent to see if ammunition is permitted in checked baggage on the airline you are flying. Small arms ammunitions for personal use must be securely packaged in fiber, wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. Ask about limitations or fees, if any, that apply.”
I like the plastic cases used for reloading. I don’t know what “small amounts of ammunition” means to the TSA. It’s pretty vague. I would take only 50 rounds or so. Knives should have some type of sheath. I would follow these rules to the letter and beyond their standard so there is no question about your desire to comply.
There is a “download/print” button on the firearms and ammunition page. I would print out that page to have with you if there is a problem. At the bottom of each page is a “Last revision” date to see how current the site is.
Flying with a weapon is not really a problem as long as you follow the rules.
Travelling even outside of this country can be tiring but if you follow these suggestions it can be a safe and secure mode of travel. For bus and train rules consult the line you are travelling with.
Semper Paratus
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