Flying with guns


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ilbob
August 14, 2006, 12:42 PM
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0608140200aug14,1,2772919.story?coll=chi-news-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

Guns at O'Hare are disappearing
Firearms being stolen from checked bags

By David Heinzmann and Josh Noel
Tribune staff reporters
Published August 14, 2006


Several handguns have been stolen from bags checked by police officers, military personnel and others on United Airlines flights departing O'Hare International Airport, sparking concern that the weapons are loose in what is supposed to be a secure part of the airport.

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Joe7cri
August 14, 2006, 12:47 PM
Ilbob,

Can you post the story? I can't access it since I'm not a subscriber to the Chicago Tribune.

Thanks!

ilbob
August 14, 2006, 01:06 PM
TRIBUNE EXCLUSIVE

Guns at O'Hare are disappearing
Firearms being stolen from checked bags

By David Heinzmann and Josh Noel
Tribune staff reporters
Published August 14, 2006


Several handguns have been stolen from bags checked by police officers, military personnel and others on United Airlines flights departing O'Hare International Airport, sparking concern that the weapons are loose in what is supposed to be a secure part of the airport.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been "a handful" of firearm thefts from luggage being handled by United personnel, Chicago police spokeswoman Monique Bond said. Bags containing guns also have disappeared, authorities said.

News of an investigation surfaced days after new security restrictions were placed on airports across the nation in the wake of British authorities foiling what they said was a plot to blow up U.S.-bound airplanes.

Aviation security experts said stealing from checked luggage long has been a problem at many airports and that guns are a favored target because they are easy to smuggle out and easy to sell.

Still another concern is that putting something into a bag could be just as easy as taking an item out, experts said.

"It's a problem at every airline and every airport," said aviation security consultant Douglas Laird.

United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski would not discuss the investigation Sunday except to say the airline is "working with the authorities on this matter." United, based in Chicago, is the dominant airline at O'Hare.

Also joining police in the investigation are the FBI and Chicago Department of Aviation.

For police officers, word of the thefts is being circulated on the Chicago police union's Web site, which warns of an officer whose weapon was stolen--one of "several cases" in "an ongoing problem"--that investigators confirmed for the union.

"United Airlines is having a serious problem with theft at O'Hare Airport," a notice on the Fraternal Order of Police site says. "This is something to think about next time you arrange vacation or business plans. Perhaps United Airlines is not the correct choice for flights for law enforcement or military personnel."

The FOP posted the warning as a service to its members after a union member's gun was stolen, President Mark Donahue said.

He said he knew little about the investigation's status or when the gun was stolen.

"He expressed his concern [to the union] just in the last week, so I'm guessing it wasn't too long ago," Donahue said.

Experts said there are generally two sources of such thefts: airline employees or Transportation Safety Administration baggage screeners. Stealing from checked luggage is a problem that dates back decades, Laird said.

People checking in luggage carrying a gun must declare their weapon with a ticket agent. Stealing the gun could be as easy as a ticket agent notifying a baggage handler below about which bag to open, Laird said.

Although the law requires guns to be carried in locked, hard-sided cases, baggage handlers have no problem getting into such luggage, he said.

The other possibility, experts said, is that TSA screeners who X-ray or inspect bags by hand could be pocketing the guns.

"Nobody has ever really resolved a real way around it," Laird said. "There's a real dilemma with baggage theft in the airline industry."

Watching the bags with cameras would be very costly, he said, with hundreds of cameras needed to survey the wide area where bags are handled, he said.

But David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association, an advocacy group for passenger security and savings, said such safety should be a priority.

"It's certainly troubling news," he said. "Especially with a gun, you'd think they have a higher level of security."

Michael Boyd, president of the Boyd Group, an aviation consulting firm based in Evergreen, Colo., said he is suspicious of TSA handlers. This year, TSA handlers in Seattle have pleaded guilty to stealing prescription drugs, and in two separate cases, a total of three screeners in Hawaii have pleaded guilty to stealing money from checked luggage.

"The TSA blames the airlines, and the airlines blame the TSA," Boyd said.

He said the guns probably do not pose a threat to passengers because they are "probably in a pawn shop in Cicero by now."

But if the guns can be removed, he said, other objects could be put into a bag.

"Operatives putting things in bags could be a problem," Boyd said.

Lara Uselding, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security in Chicago, said the TSA is helping the investigation.

"The TSA works very closely with its local law enforcement partners to ensure that proper operations are conducted by all airport partners in compliance with the Airport Security Plan," she said. "All misconduct will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and dealt with accordingly."

In the meantime, Laird said he has simple advice.

"Would I ever check a weapon or valuable? No, I'd FedEx it."

ilbob
August 14, 2006, 01:11 PM
But if the guns can be removed, he said, other objects could be put into a bag.

"Operatives putting things in bags could be a problem," Boyd said.

If they can get "things" into the secure area, getting them into a checked bag is the easy part.

Once inside the secure area, a gun stolen from checked baggage could end up inside the security perimeter of any airport in the country, or on any flight.

The obvious answer is to search all airport, airline, and TSA employees as they leave the secure area.

mechdriver
August 14, 2006, 01:28 PM
It seems that the employees/screeners don't have to meet the same requirements that the customers do.
Who are we going to trust to screen the screeners?
If passengers can be randomly searched then why not randomly search the handlers as well.

Also, how am I supposed to fedex my handgun when I go on vacation? should I pay a FFL holder to ship it to another FFL holder and then repeat the process when I return home?

I like the idea of handing my pistol to the Captain of my flight, receiving a receipt and getting it back from him upon arrival. This would also let me make sure he isn't drunk!

ChestyP
August 14, 2006, 05:18 PM
Actually, bags with guns inside ARE supposed to receive special handling (beyond the inspection by TSA). And they're flagged within the airline's baggage tracking system for "special attention."

I'd suggest you use a larger plastic pistol case to ship the handgun. The hard plastic cases used by Springfield Armory would be a lot tougher for a screener of handler to hide than a small box sized to the pistol.

LaVere
August 14, 2006, 07:42 PM
I use a Pelican Case


This is the largest carry on case we offer. This case comes with Pick ‘N Pluck™ foam inside. This case comes with transport wheels.

Color: Black

Dimensions: Outside 22"L x 14"W x 9"D, Inside 20.2"L x 11.4"W x 7.5"D

WEIGHT of Case:
With Foam: 15.9 LBS
Without Foam: 13.9 LBS


http://i.pbase.com/o4/20/378520/1/65170754.sdkWMX6K.pelicanflashlights_1910_1018557.jpg

And it has nice locks holes. While it won't stop all theft, It might give them a second thought to find an easer target.

Plus when not transport guns you can carry it inside the plane. With no liquids.:rolleyes:

Finch
August 14, 2006, 08:10 PM
Ummm yeah. If someone has access to the bags after they have been checked, they don't need to steal one from the luggage to get it past the security checkpoint. At most airports, employees don't even go through security to get to "sterile areas." But hey, let's blame the TSA anyway -- just because.

Glock_10mm
August 14, 2006, 09:53 PM
Mech driver. From what I know, you can ship a gun directly to yourself without the use of an FFL as long as it is from you - to you. Also if you want to have an FFL on one end to be sure, you can diirectly ship it to an FFL (dont need FFL to FFL), its the principle behind how sites like gunbroker is able to stay open and running.

symr00
August 14, 2006, 10:10 PM
t most airports, employees don't even go through security to get to "sterile areas."

That's not true. I worked for AW for over a year and I will tell you no matter what airport you go to, the employees have to go through the same security everyone else does. That also goes for TSA employees as well. After working for AW, I will never check my baggage again. Carry on only. You don't want to know what happens to your luggage once it leaves your hands at the airport.

Flyboy73
August 16, 2006, 12:38 AM
:confused: HUH???? I have worked at an airline for 10 years at a small airport and at Minneapois. My brother also works for the same airline and he worked at DTW. I have never had to go through the secuirty checkpoint. I also never heard of anyone having to go through a checkpoint here in the US.

WHat airport did you work at?

I assume you mean Air Wiscon, the company that is going to take my job when they out source my job:fire:


Brion

gunsmith
August 16, 2006, 02:43 AM
by TSA when applying that they get chcked going in every day, I don't know if they get checked going out. ...I really doubt it's TSA, it's too dang hard to get that job!

Finch
August 16, 2006, 04:07 AM
That's not true. I worked for AW for over a year and I will tell you no matter what airport you go to, the employees have to go through the same security everyone else does. That also goes for TSA employees as well. After working for AW, I will never check my baggage again. Carry on only. You don't want to know what happens to your luggage once it leaves your hands at the airport. Ummm, brother, I work for the TSA, right now, at a major airport (guess which one). I will tell you that NO, most employees do not go through security. TSA screeners at my airport don't even have access to the back of the airport. Some airlines have strict rules that make sure their employees go through security, but the 6.00 an hour swampers -- nope.

sargenv
August 16, 2006, 04:23 AM
I worked a contract job for AA at SFO pre 9/11 and at the time we had to wear a badge with our picture on it and we also had to do a hand scan to get onto the tarmac (which is where my office was). In fact, to get that id, I had to take a test and I could only miss a few questions to be able to be allowed on the tarmac. People who had to drive on the tarmac couldn't miss any questions as I recall. We would do a key card swipe and a hand scan before being let into any secure areas. It was pretty neat being able to go to areas that passengers were not allowed to be. I was only there a short time, but when I left that job, my ex boss demanded I give up my pass.. I had to return it to the airline the day I left. When I needed a break, it was nice sitting outside and watching planes take off and land. What was really cool was being able to go check out a few planes out in the Superbay (That huge hangar at the sf airport). There was a new (at the time) 777 in the shop. I was able to walk around it and check it out. That was pretty cool. This was of course, pre-TSA.

Outlaws
August 16, 2006, 06:11 AM
Ummm, brother, I work for the TSA, right now, at a major airport (guess which one). I will tell you that NO, most employees do not go through security. TSA screeners at my airport don't even have access to the back of the airport. Some airlines have strict rules that make sure their employees go through security, but the 6.00 an hour swampers -- nope.

I used to work for TSA. The employees on the run way and baggage did not get screened, but the employees and janitors in terminals did.

Have fun, most people will this forum will think of you as..... oh what did they call me.... Oh thats right, I am a "TSA goon".

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