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TSA Changes Carry-On Rules: Scopes and Small Knives Now Allowed

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Transportation Security Administration has made a number of changes to the list of items allowed to be included in carry-on baggage.  Of main interest to gun owners is that riflescopes are now specifically allowed. Click here to read the language and to print a copy to take with you when you travel.

The policy change on scopes came about as a result of discussions between TSA officials and NRA-ILA, and is welcome news for hunters and shooters who would prefer to keep a close tab on their expensive and fragile optics. Previously, the TSA treated them as gun parts. Travelers can still check their scope in checked baggage if they prefer, whether attached to a firearm or not.

Also of interest to gun owners and sportsmen, and more widely publicized, the TSA has changed its policy on knives.  As of April 25, knives with non-locking blades smaller than 2.36 inches and less than one-half inch in width will be allowed in carry-on baggage.  This will include small multi-tools, but not box cutters or razor blades.

The TSA also reminds gun owners to take extra care to make certain that there are no prohibited items in their carry-on baggage. Every week at security checkpoints across the country, the agency detects dozens of handguns, significant amounts of ammunition and numerous firearm parts in passengers’ carry-on luggage. Many of these people are law-abiding citizens with no criminal histories, who bring these items to screening checkpoints by accident. The results can range from missing a flight, to federal civil penalties, to arrest for violation of local laws.

To avoid problems, the safest option is never to use things like range bags or concealed-carry briefcases as carry-on luggage. Short of that, always check your carry-on luggage for loose cartridges and shells, magazines, firearm parts, and other items that are prohibited for carry-on transport.

Of course, you may legally transport unloaded firearms, firearm parts and limited quantities of ammunition in checked baggage when you travel by air, as long as you follow TSA regulations, any additional airline requirements, and the laws of the state and city to which you are traveling. TSA regulations require firearms transported on commercial passenger flights to be unloaded, carried in a locked, hard-sided container and declared to the air carrier during the ticket counter check-in process. NRA-ILA is continuing to work with the TSA and airlines to ease unnecessary restrictions on traveling shooters and hunters. For more information on traveling with firearms, go to http://www.nraila.org/airtravel.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.