TSA and hassles for shooters


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p35
January 4, 2003, 11:39 PM
A couple days ago, I was flying somewhere with a couple Army surplus ammo boxes in my luggage (gift I was taking home). They set off the TSA explosives detectors, leading to a big to-do with a bunch of supervisors being called in to look at them before they agreed to open them up and verify that they were full of books. The way they explained it was that you could take one orange golf ball, bury it in a stadium full of white golf balls, and their detectors would sound off on the orange ball. We all agreed that there was probably some explosives residue left from the original ammo (one was marked as 40mm star shell, IIRC, and the other as 12 gauge #7.5 shot, whatever the Army does with that).

Far be it from me to knock the TSA for doing their job, and I have no complaints about the way we were treated. It's a big improvement over the old "illegal alien with an oversized blazer" system. I do wonder, though, about a couple things:

(1) If you're going to a class or competition and need to bring ammo, how do you get it there in this day and age?

(2) How many of us have trace amounts of gunpowder throughout our personal environments from shooting and/or reloading, and are we going to have more hassles with TSA as a result?

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Zak Smith
January 5, 2003, 01:30 AM
I don't know... but next time I want a new "friend", I'll make sure to do some reloading before I go to the airport.

Spackler
January 5, 2003, 12:46 PM
If you are going to a class or competition, you'd have to ship the ammo. Airline regs have always precluded bringing more than 50 or 100 rounds in checked baggage, even before the TSA. The quantity you'd need for any class or competition would preclude you from packing it in your baggage. TSA rules allow firearms and ammunition to be packed in checked baggage, but I believe the quantity of ammunition is still the discretion of the airline.

I've wondered about the traces of gunpowder that may be on my bags or belongings. At some airports, they run your checked baggage upon your arrival, before you hand it over to the airlines. If there is an alarm, you'd be there while they searched your bags. At larger airports, the machines are behind-the-scenes, and by the time they check your bags, you'll probably be long gone. It might cause a situation where you are on the plane, but your bag is being held.

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