I guess I’m not that paranoid…

In my recent article Flying With a Gun… How-To, I demonstrated the equipment and process that I follow for checking a gun in checked baggage on an airline. Coincidentally, last weekend I received confirmation that my efforts aren’t overly paranoid… Check it out…

It’s relatively rare, but I’ve encountered three airports, now, where TSA is set up such that they inspect all of your bags in an area that’s off-limits to you. ABQ, IND, and SAN. These are the exact type of location I have in mind when I pack my gun for travel. It’s worst case. I can’t keep an eye on the agents to make sure that they get my stuff repacked correctly, or don’t misplace or drop any items from my bag. I also can’t make sure that they don’t repack something such that it can be damaged by the bag tossers.

I’ve been through ABQ a couple of times, now, and both times things were very smooth, and went exactly as described by the ticket agent at the deck. In fact, in both cases, the agent called back and confirmed that my bag had been cleared for me, and neither time did they need a key to get into my locked case.

IND and SAN, however, were quite a different matter. At both airports, I was told to hang out at the ticket desk for 20 minutes, and if I wasn’t called, I’d be good to go. In both cases, TSA waited until the very last minute to inspect the bag (about an hour and a half after I checked the bag), and paged or called me when the airline had started queuing people up to board the flight. At this point, I have to leave the line and go find a way to get TSA a key, and then wait for them to inspect the bag and get me the key back before I can go board the plane. You might as well plan to expect this if you end up flying through either of those airports (or others where inspection happens outside your line of sight).

When I opened my bag when I got home, I found what you see in the pictures in this thread. One of the two locks on the case is actually unlocked. Further, my knife was found loose in my bag, rather than locked in the hard case. Luckily, nothing else was missing, and there’s a redundant lock on the case that worked. If it’s seemingly so simple for them to miss something easy like locking up a weapon (the knife) and closing the clasp on a case, what if they have to manage more complex tasks, like making sure your firearm makes it back in the case safely and is packed properly? It turns out, in a properly camouflaged bag like I use, the firearm is more in danger from the TSA agent than it is from theft from a baggage handler or something like that.

I don’t seem so paranoid, now, do I?

The bottom line is, over engineer your travel solution, protect your gear from all possible threats, and insure your stuff arrives safely on the other end.

About the author


USPSA Grand Master, NRA Instructor, http://re-gun.com/about/

Permanent link to this article: http://re-gun.com/2011/04/i-guess-im-not-that-paranoid/

2 pings

  1. DR Performance says:

    I guess I'm not that paranoid… http://bit.ly/g3NBDg

  2. xre says:

    RT @drperformance: I guess I'm not that paranoid… http://bit.ly/g3NBDg

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