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Don't let your firearm trigger problems on the flight you booked

Whether you're a full-time resident in Florida or just passing through for business reasons or personal vacationing, you may be one of thousands who use flight services at one of the state's many airport facilities. It's no secret airports can be crowded, noisy, busy places that often contain groups of stressed out, frustrated people who are trying to reach their destinations to no avail when airlines cancel or delay flights, or when desk attendants make ticketing errors.  Most airports advertise positive customer service experiences.

Complications and issues with Transportation Security Administration regulations, however, can bring a happy flying day to an abrupt halt. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, airports nationwide bumped up their security. Before you board a flight, it's crucial to thoroughly research all requirements, prohibitions and laws regarding issues such as firearms, baggage and what you may or may not do on an airplane. Seeking clarification of passenger regulations ahead of time can prevent potentially serious problems in the air.

Regarding firearms

Some people mistakenly believe airlines do not allow anyone to get on an airplane while carrying a gun. The fact is, laws do not entirely prohibit passengers from taking  firearms onto planes although there are many strict regulations to which you must adhere if you hope to avoid trouble with the law. The following list includes some of the basic rules:

  • In addition to regulations set by the Transportation Security Administration, most airlines have their own rules for passengers to follow before boarding their flights.
  • TSA regulations specify that no passenger can carry a loaded gun onto an airplane.
  • Many airlines require you to sign documents declaring that your gun is not loaded.
  • You cannot wear even an unloaded firearm on during a flight.
  • If you carry an unloaded firearm on a plane, you must lock it inside hard-sided luggage.
  • If the firearm in your possession is a handgun, you must lock it inside a hard-sided gun tote. You must then place the gun case inside another piece of soft-sided luggage. You can't lock the soft-sided bag. You must also attach a special tag to that piece of luggage.
  • Some airlines allow as many as five handguns in a single hard-sided gun case.

So long as you follow the rules, check in at the proper stations and sign the appropriate documents, it's often permissible to carry firearms onto airplanes. Airlines assume you will research gun laws for your destination location. It's up to you, not the airlines, to possess clear understanding of all laws pertaining to firearms wherever you go. There are also strict regulations regarding ammunition -- how much, how heavy and how you pack it are main concerns.

Authorities can delay your travel plans if they believe you are involved with some sort of firearms violation on a commercial air flight. Sometimes a problem occurs due to clerical errors or other mix-ups.  Rectifying such situations can be quite challenging. Many people in Florida make sure their legal representation contacts remain at-the-ready when planning to board commercial airplanes with firearms.

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