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Transportation Security Administration

TSA reminds travelers of the proper way to fly with a firearm for hunting season

Local Press Release
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Firearm properly packed in blue case

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Hunting seasons for deer, bear, turkey and other animals in West Virginia has arrived or is soon to arrive and with that, the Transportation Security Administration reminds travelers that there is a right way and a wrong way to travel with a firearm on an airplane. The wrong way is to bring a firearm to a checkpoint. The right way is to declare the firearm with your airline.

Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the security checkpoint and TSA’s advice to passengers is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items. 

Weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are not permitted in carry-on bags, but can be transported in checked bags if they are unloaded, properly packed and declared to the airline. Passengers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA.   

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-side case and locked. Ammunition can not be loose or in a zip-top bag. Ammunition must be in its original container/box, even if the box is partially full, and the ammunition should be placed inside the hard-side case next to the unloaded firearm. It is important to remember that firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and so travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

Firearm owners also are reminded to check their pockets, knapsacks and other carry-on items for a stray bullet that may be loose in a coat pocket or knapsack compartment as even single bullets are prohibited past the checkpoint and can slow down the screening process.

For more details, please visit our traveling with firearms page. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.

TSA screens approximately 2 million passengers and their luggage every day for prohibited items, including weapons and explosives. To do this, TSA uses imaging technology to safely screen passengers for any items which may be concealed under clothing, while X-ray units screen all carry-on baggage.

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