Discussion in 'Articles' started by Philip Glass, Jun 14, 2017.
I’ve done it both ways
Absolutely - use one very similar - hate multiple locks.
24 lbs empty.
I have a similar set up on a Cabelas' case and have used it that way with one lock, but it has been a few years since it's last use. I am planing to use that case again here in about 10 days and have been debating whether to just leave the rod home and fill the other 3 holes with locks or not?? I like the rod, as it is one lock and pull the rod and you are done. Maybe I will use the rod and pack a couple of 4 packs of locks just to be safe.... Ah decisions....
Weight with a Model 700 .270 Win. & CZ 550 .416 and scopes, + lock = 45 lb.
And five pounds of extras stuff to make a 50 pound limit.
I can never figure out why folks use TSA locks. Take a look at CFR 1540.111 which says: "(iv) The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the passenger retains the key or combination." So, I read that as no TSA locks. I carry a copy of that rule (and the rule that prohibits labeling as guns outside the luggage) whenever I travel.
I also tape open replacement locks (for all holes) to cardboard and that goes in the case in the unlikely event TSA needs to clear the luggage and can't find you. I also rite a "Thank you for replacing the cut locks" note to TSA on the cardboard in big marker.
Just my two cents worth.
Just how heavy duty of a lock can they cut? With hardened shackles I would think it would be easier to cut the container. If they can't cut it, I assume it would not go on the plane and then what happens to it?
Question #1: are TSA locks legal on a gun case?
Answer: yes (see yellow highlight).
Question #2: why would one use TSA locks on a gun case?
Answer: so that airport/airlines/security/customs/TSA/police agents can check the content of the case easily and SO THAT YOUR GUN CASE ACTUALLY GETS ON BOARD EVEN IF THE AGENTS CANNOT FIND YOU, OR CANNOT CUT HARDENED SHACKLES, OR REFUSE TO PROCESS THE NOW UNSECURED CASE AFTER CUTTING THE LOCKS, OR ETC. ETC.
Question #3: are your guns less secure because you use TSA locks on a gun case?
Answer: define secure... Do we expect potential thieves to open the gun case at the airport and walk away with the guns slung on their shoulder? It seems more likely that the entire case would disappear ... including Fort Knox rated locks...
Not sure why there is so much passion about hating TSA locks. Are they as secure as a vault? Heck no! But neither are most gun cases. Heck, you can cut a Pelican lock hasps a lot easier than you can cut hardened shackles...
Maybe the answer is that:
There are TSA locks ... and there are TSA locks...
I too used to have a metal case with the rod and 1 lock, but it did not resist being speared by an airport forklift in Phoenix in 2006, so now I use a Pelican with 4 LARGE SIZE TSA locks (took me a while to find some!):
They are likely less secure than super duper hardened shackle key locks but they are full size and considerably bigger / stronger than the usual vanity case-sized flimsy TSA locks...
I don't know, maybe I am missing something ???
PS: by the way I did not know about the 1 lock per hasp rule, and got lucky in August 1998 in Phoenix. I had only two locks and was able to convince the TSA agent that the regulation meant one lock per "secured hasp" which the Pelican only has two of (stainless steel reinforced) but you can bet that I now have 4 locks on the Pelican
Yeah, a case that can't lock does not ship. That's why I use one of those gun cases that looks like a golf case for my luggage. If my gun case is disabled and can't be loaded I'm able to stuff the gun in my other hard side gun case luggage...and I pack a spare tumbler lock for that, too. I've not had to use my back up plan as of yet but I rest comfortable knowing a broken case will be but a minor inconvenience that is easily surmounted.
Besides, I also never travel with a gun I can't stand to lose to theft or to some over zealous customs guy in some other country.
FWIW: I asked TSA the question about TSA or non-TSA locks direct to TSA and their reply e-mail was specific - only the owner must have the key (no TSA locks). I saw the web site answer in this thread but the web site does not supercede the law. I'd rather deal with my plan than risk a TSA agent that knows the law deny loading my case should I only have TSA locks.
That's my two cents - your mileage may vary based on your interpretation of the rules. My comments are based on my opinion of the rules and is how I roll with checking my firearms. I urge folks to do their own research and make informed choices that fits their circumstances, country of origin, country of destination, etc.
I just used the link to the CFR in the recent post re: the web site highlight saying you can use TSA locks on gun cases. Funny, their own link takes you to the site (and the law) that specifically says only the passenger can have the key.
So, I guess if there is any moral here it is that TSA agents may or may not know what the law says and even TSA people are confused. That's heart warming.
It's also why on my last overseas hunt I used my guides gun (that was way, way easier, too). I'll continue, however, to take my own equipment within the US and use by belt and suspenders approach to packing.
49 CFR 1540.111 (c) (2) (iv) indeed states:
Where the confusion might arise is that the intent of the Legislator was likely that the key or combination can not be made available to members of the public such as other passengers for example, hence the language "only the passenger." It is unlikely that the intent was to prevent security agents - i.e. people in legal possession of a TSA key - from gaining access to the content of the case if they deem necessary. This reasoning is supported by the fact that security agents have the right to cut non TSA locks if they deem necessary.
It seems that in this case the TSA website is not faulty nor confused, and that it is not in contradiction with the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
I disagree with your assumption on several levels. First, my direct correspondence with TSA where TSA clearly and unambiguously stated TSA locks are not to be used on firearms. Second, the plain language of the law is clear that only the passenger may have the key. Third, no legislator is going to be with me when I'm checking my luggage. Fourth, TSA agents are often confused (i.e. trying to put "firearms unloaded" tags on outside of luggage contrary to the rules). Fifth, the written law trumps a web page and any anecdotal argument. Finally, sixth, I would rather show a TSA agent the rules in writing than debate what the rules "intent" really is.
Having been a military pilot flying in and out of civilian fields, having traveled on many domestic and international flights with firearms over about 40 years and having been an attorney for almost 20 years (doing only criminal law and with some experience in litigating firearms issues) I'll trust my analysis on my travels with firearms under the circumstances I travel. My comments are not legal advice for others - like I said: Do your homework and make your own choices for your own specific set of circumstances. Consult with your attorney.
We've beat this dead horse. Good conversation.
You are quite correct that "the written law trumps a web page," but in this case there is no contradiction between the written law and the web page. Quite simply, "only the passenger retains the key or combination" ... and the TSA agents simply use a special TSA key to bypass the passenger key or combination.
Objectively, this is hard to challenge: the passenger does not share the combination with TSA agents and does not remit the key to TSA agents, or anyone else, right? TSA agents simply have the means to open the TSA lock without them (including cutting them if they so wish). Or do you understand the law as requiring that we use uncuttable locks so that truly only the passenger can unlock the case?
But I know that I will not convince you, and that is quite OK
There is nothing wrong with using non-TSA locks. Hopefully TSA can contact you before boarding if they need to; or hopefully they can cut your locks; and hopefully they will graciously use your spare, ready, open locks inside the case to replace the locks they cut; and your gun case will make it on board. I can see your rationale
As to government agents not being fully up to speed, I too deal with a fair number of them on a quasi daily basis, so I certainly understand your point. It seems to me that showing them the web page of their own agency will be simpler than attempting to give them an education on the Code of Federal Regulations
Good conversation indeed. Let us agree to disagree and I wish you the best on your next trip. Mine will be in July to RSA and I will have 4 big TSA locks on my Pelican
By the way, would you share a copy of your "direct correspondence with TSA where TSA clearly and unambiguously stated TSA locks are not to be used on firearms" ? It could be interesting to follow up with them and ask their comment about their own web page. It seems that getting closure on this issue would benefit the entire AH community...
No need to destroy the case. With a cutoff wheel, thirty seconds the lock is removable. Also where the key inserts, can be drilled.
Beating a dead horse again, TSA agent are NOT the only ones with keys to your TSA locks.
I agree with your post. Like I’ve said I’ve done it both ways but TSA locks are legal. If you travel enough you will have your locks cut.
Absolutely agreed Hogpatrol, but precisely because, as you say so well...
...I have come to the conclusion that whichever lock I use does not really matter and I might as well make the TSA folks' work as easy as possible IN ORDER TO INCREASE THE CHANCES THAT THE GUN CASE SHOWS UP AT DESTINATION, because any way, TSA or no TSA, the lock will not prevent the case to be open if it gets in the wrong hands.
And as Philip Glass, says...
... with a high risk that the gun case then does not make it on the plane.
So, to make a long story short: this is all about risk mitigation, and in my analysis, TSA locks yield a lower risk situation (possibility of gun theft from an illegal possessor of a TSA key - or a dremel ); while non-TSA locks yield, in my analysis, a higher risk situation (TSA cannot find you to open the case; TSA cannot or does not want to bother cutting hardened locks; TSA refuses clearance on a subsequently unlocked case after cutting the locks; etc. etc.) resulting in the gun case not making it on the plane, hence ruining your day (and hunt?), and then God knows where the case ends up i.e. additional possibility of gun loss).
I completely understand that other folks may come to a different decision in their own risk/benefit analysis, but the analysis should be made with the factual data, i.e. in this case: TSA locks are legal.
I’m use the large TSA locks for the reasons One Day points out. I carry a spare set of non TSA locks in the event the TSA locks are ever refused. Belts and suspenders but I am not letting $50 worth of locks mess up my safari.
As an aside, I doubt very much that a firearm would be stolen from a case. If I were a thief I’d just take the case and deal with the locks later.
I never use TSA locks on a gun case, and have never had locks cut. My concerns are not at US airports - the vast majority of TSA folks have been very polite and reasonably efficient (airline counter agents and customs not so much). My concerns are at arrival airports. I do believe that high quality locks will deter a local thief in Beira or Johannesburg much more than a TSA lock. I do not believe it takes much effort to imagine scenarios in such locations where getting into the case and getting to the rifle increases the likelihood of theft. And I am absolutely certain those are the locations where something is most likely to be delayed in transit.
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