View Full Version : American law enforcement people and guns on planes
06-20-2003, 02:16 PM
Are police officers going to another state to extradite a suspect (or for any reason) and FBI/CIA agents allowed to carry their firearms on an aircraft?
One of my best friends is FBI. Yes, he can and does routinely pack heat while on commercial aircraft. He does of course make them aware beforehand of his credentials and weapon but, if anything, I think they're better off with him so equipped.
So why isn't it the easiest method for a would-be hijacker to obtain well-forged law enforment ID?
(sorry, should be 'law enforcement ID", of course.)
06-20-2003, 08:07 PM
Although I haven't flown on an extradition since before 9/11, even then it wasn't as simple as showing ID. We had to arrive at the airport at least one hour before the flight (back then, that was early) with an original signed letter of authorization which stated that we had had the required FAA training , and when flying out of LaGuardia, it was the Port Authority Police who checked me out, not security guards. I'm sure they were familiar with the ID of every law enforcement agency in the area. I believe the agency informed the airline when buying the tickets that it was an extradition and that we would be flying with firearms .Additional paperwork also had to be done at the airportfor the airline. I usually tried to get there closer to two hours before the flight to leave time for all of the checking and paperwork. The checking took enough time that I expect they called to verify the authorization and my identity.
06-20-2003, 10:22 PM
So a related question. If I was a cop in Atlanta and I was going to, oh, Seattle for vacation or something, could I bring my sidearm?
06-21-2003, 12:21 AM
I think the answer to that is no. IANALEO (Law enforcement officer), but I am an airline pilot and I do carry armed LEOs on my airplane sometimes.
Every armed LEO has been some sort of Federal Officer - I've had DEA, FBI, US Marshal, even Postal Inspectors. This doesn't mean local cops can't travel armed, it's just that I've never seen one. All of my armed passengers had some specific reason to go where they were going that was job related, and it was backed up with paperwork. We don't do the actual checking of them (ie calling their agency to verify who they are), but we do get paperwork and check it along with their ID. They either board early (if they are escorting a prisoner) or stick their head in the cockpit to show us their ID and to let us know where they're sitting.
So if your Department needed you to travel from Atlanta to Seattle armed, it could probably be worked out. If you just wanted to see the space needle, there's no reason for you to be armed. You could check your gun as luggage, though.
06-21-2003, 01:45 AM
Right on Pilot. Just like you can't carry the weapon in your car from state to state, you sure as hell can't fly with one as a local copper. Once the state ends, your authority as a local LEO ends.
06-21-2003, 11:05 AM
GMRyujin, you'd need to follow the same procedures anyone else does. You could bring your sidearm if you comply with the FAA regulations, which there was a thread on recently and comes down to somehting like 'unloaded, in a lockable case, in your checked baggage'. You can't just decide that you want to pack during the flight, though.
06-21-2003, 03:49 PM
Thanks all, I've always wondered about that.
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