BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - In 2017, nearly 50 guns were packed the wrong way when brought to the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.
That was five more than the year before. Those type statistics are increasing across lots of U.S. airports. That's why the TSA wants to remind passengers of the rules when it comes to packing guns, which must always go inside checked luggage.
"First thing you're going to need to do is get yourself a hard-sided case. It needs to be sturdy and needs to be able to be locked," says TSA Regional Spokesperson Mark Howell.
He says the case should have padding inside to hold the gun securely. Ammunition can go inside too, but it must be secured and never inside the gun. The firearm must be completely unloaded.
"So you need to remove any magazines from the firearm. And make sure no rounds are chambered on the inside of the firearm as well," Howell says.
When you arrive at the airport, take the case to the ticket counter.
"You're going to need to declare it to the airline -- that's the second most important thing. If you do not declare it to the airline you're flying with, you can get into trouble," Howell advises.
You'll be given a declaration card. Put it in the case and lock it back. Pack it in the luggage with your clothes as it too will be screened.
"We don't want to infringe on anybody's right to take a firearm with them when they travel. We just want to make sure it's not accessible during a flight and that it's packed the safest way possible," Howell said.