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  1. Rather than turn this into a rant, (which it might anyway but not by me), I’m just going to post a series of emails between me and TSA regarding whether it is permissible to carry bullets (not loaded ammo) in the carry-on. The question I asked was “Is it permissible to carry bullets (not loaded ammo) in my carry-on?” Sounds simple enough, right? Apparently not. The question came as a follow-up to an incident I had with TSA in Savannah, Georgia (I posted it on this forum on 1/3/17 entitled “Run-In With TSA”). I was told by TSA at the airport that the .204 Ruger cases I had in my carry-on had to be checked. I knew full well that they didn’t, but what could I do? If you’re interested you can read about it there. Anyway, next month I will be again traveling through the Savannah airport and may well be carrying some Sierra 32-grain .204 Ruger bullets in my carry-on. For some reason they seem hard to find here so I buy them whenever and wherever I can. Round one: My initial inquiry to TSA on 1/31/18 was: “Can you tell me if bullets (not ammunition) are permissible in carry-on baggage? I know the regulations on shell casings but can find no information on bullets.” TSA’s response: “Thank you for contacting the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Contact Center. Empty shell casings are permitted in your carry-on or checked bag as long as the projectile is no longer intact and the primer has been removed or has been discharged. If ammunition still has the projectile attached and the powder has been drilled out, they are considered replicas and are not permitted in carry-on bags.” Round two: My response: “I did not ask about shell casings. As I mentioned in my email, I know the regulations on those. I am asking a second time for clarification on whether bullets (not ammunition) can be carried aboard. Despite common nomenclature, bullets are not the same as ammunition. A loaded round of ammunition is comprised of four components: the bullet (projectile), powder, primer (detonates the powder), and the case. Two of these components, the powder and primer, are classified as hazardous material and may not be carried aboard. The other two, the bullet (projectile) and case are simply inert pieces of metal and pose no threat. So I will ask again: Can bullets (projectiles) be carried aboard?” TSA’s response: “In response to your question, no, loaded ammunition is not allowed in carry-on baggage. Ammunition may only be transported in checked baggage and TSA requires ammunition to be in original packaging or in specific packaging designed to carry ammunition (wood or metal box) when transported. If ammunition is in a magazine, the open end of the magazine needs to be taped or in a magazine pouch, inside an approved box designed to transport ammunition in checked baggage.” Round three: My inquiry of later on 3/8/18 was: “For the third time I am asking whether bullets (projectiles), not loaded ammunition can be carried aboard. My inquiry of 2/18/18 made it quite clear that I need clarification on bullets (projectiles), one of the four components of a loaded round of ammunition, not on ammunition itself. Bullets are metallic projectiles only and are not explosive. Given that empty cases can be carried aboard, I assume that bullets, which are similarly non-explosive and pose no threat, can be also. I don’t know how to make my inquiry any clearer than this.” TSA’s response: “Replica weapons may be mistaken for real weapons in the x-ray machine or by a fellow passenger and have the ability to cause the same level of concern. In addition, screening checkpoints may be impacted or closed if a replica firearm appears as a real weapon when viewed through the x-ray machine.” “Replica firearms and ammunition are permitted in checked baggage. While not required, we recommend that you place realistic firearms in a hard-sided, locked case. If a Transportation Security Officer discovers a replica firearm during checked baggage screening an believes it is real, the item will be treated as such until law enforcement advises otherwise.” Am I missing something here? Was my simple question not clear? Or, as was said on Cool Hand Luke, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”
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