Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Emily Miller: Flying with a gun

The Washington Times
Emily Miller

I took my gun on a airplane for the first time, and it was much easier than getting it across town in Washington, D.C. The most difficult part of the process on Sunday was figuring out how to legally transport my firearm from my home in the District to Reagan National Airport in Virginia. The rest was -- surprisingly -- a breeze.

I was traveling to St. Louis for a self-defense course for female journalists who cover firearm-related issues at the Winchester Co. In planning the trip, the company rep, Michael, recommended I bring my own Sig Sauer P229 so that I could learn on my own pistol. He sent me United Airlines firearms guidelines, which looked pretty simple: the unloaded gun had to be in a locked, in a hard case and checked in the luggage.

Still, I was nervous about flying with it. My gun doesn’t get out much since it’s against the law in D.C. to take my gun anywhere other than another state. Another rep, Shannon, said I should bring it in a locked box to ensure that it didn’t disappear with airport security. She also suggested that I call Ronald Reagan National Airport for any local laws, like the one in New York that requires a police officer escort the bag.

Having dealt with the absurdly restrictive and often irrational gun laws in Washington, I was prepared for anything. I called the airport customer service number and told the lady on the other end of the line my question. She gasped. When she got a hold of herself after hearing the word “gun,” she said that it couldn’t be loaded. I said that I was aware of that. She reiterated the same guidelines given by the airlines. Reagan Airport is conveniently a stone’s throw across the Potomac River in Virginia, which must keep the gun laws in check.

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