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Just got back from LV yesterday (round trip on Hawaiian Air) and let me share my experience with everyone. Had my handgun in a soft sided case along with 2 factory boxes of 20rd ammo stored in a Pelican 1750 rifle case (yeah over kill for a handgun but had lots of gifts to take to family). Checked in at HNL and ticket agent asked about the ammo and I explained the handgun was in it's own case within the Pelican case, agent said no problem. Signed orange card, inserted card into Pelican case and dropped off case at the drop off. Waited about 20 mins had no one from airlines or TSA get back to me so proceeded TSA checkpoint and to gates. Now on my return flight this is where I encountered something different. Checked in and walked with the ticket agent to the TSA office like usual but was told that I had to hand over my keys for the locks on my Pelican case to the TSA agent and they would open, inspect and then lock my case ( in the past they would take my case and xray without taking my keys) in their office and I was not allowed to enter. They would then send my Pelican case thru (which meant that I would not see my case again till I got it in HNL) and hand me my keys back and I could proceed to the TSA checkpoint and head toward my gate. According to the TSA agent their policy has changed recently and when I double checked the policy this is what it stated
"Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm. Only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock unless TSA personnel request the key to open the firearm container to ensure compliance with TSA regulations. You may use any brand or type of lock to secure your firearm case, including TSA-recognized locks."
In the past when traveling with firearms I've always printed and kept a copy of the TSA Firearms policies with me and I do not recall the section with "unless TSA personnel request the key to open the firearm container to ensure compliance with TSA regulations." so this is where the policy has changed, and opening and inspecting my case outside of the TSA office was not an option. Both the TSA agent and Hawaiian Air agent did explain that if I so wanted to I could head over to the main TSA office at terminal 1 and get a pass to enter the office/inspection area for terminal 3 (Hawaiian Air).
So that being said, for those of you traveling to LV you might want to consider taking the extra time to get a pass from the main TSA office at terminal 1 and or taking pictures and making an inventory of everything that you're putting in your case that contains your firearms. Hope this helps....
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