Report on Flying American Airlines with Firearms, Reagan National to Phoenix

Virginia Citizens Defense League member W.B. sent me this email on his experience flying American Airlines while bringing along a firearm:

American Airlines Firearms Red Tag saying “Return To Baggage Office"
American Airlines Firearms Red Tag saying “Return To Baggage Office”

Virginia – -( After seeing another Virginia Citizens Defense League member’s experience flying American Airlines in a recent newsletter, I would like to add my own, as it differs from the rosy picture they painted.

I recently flew American Airlines from Reagan National to Phoenix and back, with a firearm in my checked baggage. The experience could have been better. When checking in with American at both airports, I had to wait in the same very slow line as all the people who were rebooking flights or doing other special time-consuming things. Once I finally got to the desk, the practices diverged.

The agent at Reagan was content to have me sign the “unloaded firearm” card, place it in the bag, and walk me over to the TSA baggage inspector. In Phoenix, the American Airlines check-in agent insisted that she had to inspect my locked firearm case, and claimed that if she could pry it open enough with her hands to slip a finger inside and touch the gun, the case was not allowed. Indeed, she started prying away at my case and claimed it “technically” did not meet her unpublished standard, but I was able to convince her that since it had flown from Reagan National to Phoenix without a problem. It would also be acceptable to fly the return trip.

Sure enough, the TSA in Phoenix didn’t have a problem with my case.

Arizona “No Guns” Signs

One other thing I saw on this trip is the folly of giving business owners the ability to post “no guns” signs that have the force of law. In Arizona, businesses that serve liquor may post special “no firearms allowed” signs and it’s a violation of the law to simply carry a gun inside (as opposed to trespassing if you’re asked to leave). This gives anti-gun restaurateurs the opportunity to make a statement, and quite a few restaurants had such signs, which are much more obtrusive than the “no guns” signs you sometimes see in Virginia. I avoided those businesses.

One final unfortunate thing was the gun ban in National Park Service buildings, which in one case effectively blocked access to armed citizens wanting to visit beautiful and historic sites. Even the privately-operated lodges and motel rooms at the Grand Canyon ban guns, which may go above and beyond the requirements of federal law.

Virginia Citizens Defense League

About Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL):

Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL). Virginia Citizens Defense League is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right.

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