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Interpretation Response #17-0103

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date: 05-21-2018
Company Name: Federal Air Marshall Service Headquarters    Individual Name: J. Michael Moore
Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

May 21, 2018

Mr. J. Michael Moore
Supervisory Federal Air Marshall
Federal Air Marshall Service Headquarters
Law Enforcement Liaison

Reference No. 17-0103

Dear Mr. Moore:

This letter is in response to your September 15, 2017, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the carriage of conducted electrical weapons (CEW) aboard a passenger-carrying aircraft. Specifically, you ask if the HMR permit a passenger or law enforcement officer (LEO) to place an active (i.e., ready-to-fire) CEW in checked baggage.

The answer is no. CEWs may contain hazardous materials such as explosive charges, compressed gases, and lithium batteries. Because it is a complete and active weapon, the CEW may not be placed in checked baggage unless it is rendered inert. One acceptable method that may render a CEW inert could be the removal of the lithium battery. Because the lithium battery is no longer installed in the CEW, it must be carried aboard either on one's person or in carry-on baggage. Conversely, if the only hazardous material in the CEW were the installed lithium battery, it could be considered a portable electronic device and authorized under § 175.10(a)(18) of the HMR. Again, any spare (not installed in a device) lithium batteries must be carried aboard the aircraft on one's person or in carry-on baggage.

As previously stated in our June 25, 2015, letter to the United States Department of the Interior under Reference Number 15-0098, provided the conditions of 49 CFR 1544.219 are met, an armed LEO is authorized by the HMR to carry accessible weapons (including loaded firearms and CEWs) on their person aboard any passenger-carrying aircraft of U.S. registry anywhere in air commerce. Emphasis added. Passengers or crew members (non-LEOs) are prohibited from transporting active CEWs in either checked or carry-on baggage, domestically under the HMR or internationally under Part 8 of the ICAO Technical Instructions. However, a passenger or crew member may transport a CEW in checked baggage if rendered completely inert as described in the second paragraph above.

We hope this further clarifies your concerns regarding the carriage of CEWs aboard aircraft. We intend to work closely with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration in a future action to assist in clarifying this issue.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
§ 175.10 Exceptions for passengers, crewmembers, and air operators