In the hours after today’s tragedy at Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL), the details of what happened are not yet fully clear. Among the things we do know, however, is that the shooter appears to have carried his weapon in his checked bag and loaded it upon arrival in a bathroom near baggage claim. That of course means that he flew with both a gun and ammunition. Was this simply TSA oversight?
Actually, no. As Vox wrote earlier today, it is legal to fly with both a gun and ammunition. Specifically, the TSA permits transport of “unloaded firearms” in checked—but not carry-on—luggage, so long as the firearm is locked in a “locked hard-sided container” and is declared by the passenger accompanying it. Here’s the TSA’s officially listed bullets on the subject of travelers looking to fly with firearms from the TSA’s Transporting Firearms and Ammunition page:
Ammunition, magazines and the likes of scopes, meanwhile, are also permitted in checked—and again not carry-on—luggage once declared. From the same TSA page:
Here’s the TSA’s full page outline on its policies, which allow room for interpretation (in different capacities) by foreign and domestic states and even airlines. The specifics may well come up for debate in the near future. For now, our thoughts are with all those affected today.
For updates on the FLL situation as it develops, here are a few resources: