USA Flag

Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

Law Enforcement

Flying Armed

To qualify to fly armed, federal regulation states that a law enforcement officer must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be a federal law enforcement officer or a full-time municipal, county, state, tribal or territorial law enforcement officer who is a direct government agency employee.

  • Be sworn and commissioned to enforce criminal or immigration statutes.

  • Be authorized by the employing agency to have the weapon in connection with assigned duties.

  • Have completed the TSA Law Enforcement Officer Flying Armed Training Course.

In addition to the above requirements, the officer must present an operational need to have the weapon accessible from the time he or she would otherwise check the weapon, until the time it would be claimed after deplaning. The need to have the weapon accessible aboard the aircraft must be determined by the employing agency and based on one of the following:

  • Assigned to a protective duty as a principal or advance team, or on travel required to be prepared to engage in a protective function.

  • Conducting a hazardous surveillance operation.

  • On official travel with a requirement to report to another location armed and prepared for duty immediately upon landing.

  • Employed as a federal law Enforcement officer, whether or not on official travel, and armed in accordance with an agency-wide policy.

  • Escorting an in custody prisoner, or on a round trip ticket returning from escorting or traveling to pick up a prisoner.

Common examples of travel that do not meet the threshold for carriage of accessible weapons are:

  • Possess the status of a retired, contract, reserve, auxiliary or annuitant law enforcement personnel.

  • Law enforcement officers who have not been granted general arrest authority and/or are limited specifically to governmental facilities.

  • Any law enforcement officer who is employed by a department, agency or service that is not fully taxpayer funded.

  • Attendance of non-operational or enforcement related activities.(e.g. training, conferences, police week, memorial services, personal travel, etc.)

Training Program     

State, local, territorial, tribal and approved railroad law enforcement officers flying armed must submit a National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System message at least 24 hours prior to travel. More information on this procedure is contained in the training program.

To request the training material, you must:

  • Be a full-time law enforcement officer meeting the instructor qualification standards of the agency.

  • Send the request from a government email.

  • Include in the body of the email the following:

    • Your name and contact information.

    • Your agency’s name and address.

    • Your supervisor’s name and full contact information.

    • Brief narrative detailing your operational need to fly armed.

Request Training Materials