BOSTON – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) spent Tuesday morning demonstrating and describing how to properly travel with a firearm.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided locked case, and packed separately from ammunition. Then the locked case should be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.
Nationwide, TSA officers have stopped more than 5,700 firearms at security checkpoints, a 20-year record. TSA officers at BOS have discovered 18 firearms at security checkpoints this year.
“Passengers are allowed to travel with their firearms and ammunition as long as they follow the proper procedures,” said Bob Allison, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Massachusetts and Maine. “Travelers should never bring a gun—loaded or unloaded—to a security checkpoint because they are not permitted to be carried into the cabin of a plane. Carelessly traveling with a firearm is a public safety concern, considering it could accidentally be discharged during a search.”
Bringing weapons to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and knives with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges for an allotted period of time.
Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and passengers should do their homework to make sure that they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.
Security is the first concern of the TSA, and having firearms in bags that are traveling with you on the aircraft is dangerous to other travelers and can be easily mistaken as an intentional attempt to bring a prohibited item onto an aircraft.