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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I co-own a home in Florida and have what may be a dumb question. I'm not keen on traveling with my pistol on an airline on the way to FL (by "traveling with" I mean that it's locked up in portable safe and checked in with my luggage), it *can* be a hassle for a number of reasons. I know many have checked in their pistols at airports and have not had issues. We're packing as light as we can (with my 2 young sons - one is 6 months old, the other turns 3 yrs in June), minimizing how many bags we bring with us, so luggage space is definitely an issue. My main concern is that my plane stops in Laguardia on the way back from FL. Last thing I want is to end up under a frivilous arrest considering NJ is as bad as NYC with regards to 2A issues.

What if I shipped the pistol directly to my residence in FL so that it's there when I arrive (I was thinking UPS or FedEx since USPS cannot ship handguns)? I'd rather go that route to avoid the hassle of checking it in with luggage where space is already at a premium. Based on the ATF FAQ, it appears that this option is legal, but I wasn't certain...

ATF Online - Firearms - Frequently Asked Questions - Unlicensed Persons
 

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You can ship, I've heard that people do it. It has to be overnight though, which can be very expensive. I looked at it briefly once and it was not worth the cost to me.

I have flown with a handgun and it is NOT THAT BAD. I know its daunting at first, but its really not a big deal. If you do get into some kind of scenario where you're stuck in NYC and have a layover, just don't accept the handgun back. To be 100% safe, pack an overnight carry-on bag that has a change of clothes, toothbrush, etc. The people who have gotten into trouble have accepted their bag containing the gun.

Very small chance that happens though. If you check it, it doesn't have to be a separate bag or anything, just a container that locks. I use a GunVault that was $19.99 at Gander Mountain. Just slip it in your bag, show it to the ticket agent, sign the slip and you're on your way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info Scotchman. I checked UPS's policies for shipping firearms on their website, and you're right, they will only ship them via overnight services (really lame). FedEx does NOT appear to have such a policy - no wording on their website stating that firearms must be shipped overnight. Seems that they'll ship them the same as anything else as long as no laws are being violated.

Prohibited & Restricted Articles | FXF Rules Tariff - FedEx

I do have a GunVault (which I will use for shipping my pistol via FedEx), so I will go with FedEx for shipping instead of UPS. Just don't want to risk a mix up or anything at Laguardia on my way home from FL.
 

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Check that it isn't a LAW that guns are shipped overnight. I know when I had to ship one back to the manufacturer once, it was required that it was shipped overnight. I'm fairly sure they told me its a federal law.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Here's something else I was pondering...what if I shipped it as parts in different boxes (i.e. barrel in one box, slide in another, trigger/lower in another)? Isn't it no longer a firearm at that point?

If the overnight shipping deal is a LAW, then the ATF definitely fails to make mention of it in their FAQ. I'm thinking it's a UPS policy (though I haven't called FedEx yet), I'll find out one way or another.

Ok, so now it's seeming like checking the firearm through luggage at the airport may be less hassle. Paying $70 to overnight it each way is ridiculous. I read further into FedEx's policies, seems that they require shipment to FFL on the receiving end for handgun shipments, even though federal law does not require that.

Note that the ATF clearly states the following on their FAQ page:

ATF said:
Q: May a nonlicensee ship firearms interstate for his or her use in hunting or other lawful activity?

A: Yes. A person may ship a firearm to himself or herself in care of another person in the State where he or she intends to hunt or engage in any other lawful activity. The package should be addressed to the owner. Persons other than the owner should not open the package and take possession of the firearm.
Based on that, you should be good to ship regardless of carrier, etc.

;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
So I ended up checking in my XDm .45 ACP with the airline (Delta). It was completely hassle-free. Showed up at the airport, told the clerk at the check-in counter that I was checking in a firearm. She had me open the suitcase and unlock the Nano-Vault. She took a 2 second glance, agreed the gun was unloaded, and all I did was sign a little pink slip to put in the Nano-Vault saying that it was certified unloaded. Didn't have to show my CCW permit (which was surprising), nothing other than my driver's license for ID which was for baggage check-in. Took less than a minute. If for some reason I'm stuck at Laguardia on the way home, I'll refuse the checked-in bag.

Based on what I read on Delta's website, they seem firearm-friendly, and categorize pistols, rifles, and shotguns under "sporting". Some airlines are restrictive on ammunition in luggage, Delta allows up to 11kg of ammo. I had 2 plastic cases full of .45 ACP ammo, it wasn't a problem. The whole process couldn't have been any easier.

:)
 

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Thanks for following up. That has been my experience as well (I fly Delta, Platinum Medallion baby). They don't even check for ammunition, I may start taking it in magazines so I don't have to unload and load them. Technically I believe magazines are allowable by TSA, but I've been using a plastic box to be safe.
 

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Thanks for sharing!

I'll be taking a trip to FL some point next end of winter/spring and we were looking at airline tickets and first class was around 700 for delta... HALF of what Air Tran had available... I thought that was odd, but this seems to be another good reason to fly Delta
 
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