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In the 1950s, a student of his offered my dad 10% ownership in a company that planned to criss-cross the Continental United States in a plane outfitted with a Geiger counter, to look for Uranium. For $10,000. That was all the money my folks had in the bank. He passed. They discovered the largest uranium deposit in the USA. So I’m not the one to follow when it comes to predictions. But I’ll got out on a limb here and predict that I will never, EVER get caught with a loaded gun in my bag when I fly. And I’ll bet that if you follow the one simple rule that I do, neither will you . . .

Early on, when I invested in my first gun, I bought a very nice range bag from Midway USA. While it’s basic black like virtually all my other luggage, I could not, would not, will not confuse it with any other luggage I own.

For one thing, it’s got so many external zippered pockets, it looks like a small duffel that contracted some sort of weird nylon disease and broke out with a terminal case of goiters. For another, there’s the conspicuous “MidwayUSA” logo embroidered on the front side. It’s a nice bag. Holds three handguns. If I wanted, there’s room for a couple of more. It’s the kind of bag that invites you to Buy More Stuff, just so you’ll have something to put in all the bloody compartments.

I have never flown with that bag. I’ve put a lot of stuff in it. Pistols. Cans. Ammo. Cleaning supplies. Bore snake. Goggles. But never once have I packed that bag for an overnight trip by accident.

Conversely, I’ve never packed a carry-on bag and thought, oh, I’ll just slip my Kimber inside. Even though I’ve never arrived early for a flight in my life, I’m sure I’ll somehow remember to take it out and secure it in my vehicle, before I check in. And I won’t have a thought in the world about my car being burgled whilst I’m gone and having to go through the shitstorm of paperwork to report the gun missing, nor how thrilled I’ll be at having to replace a $1,200 firearm. Not once. Isn’t that odd?

Now I’m sure that the TSA has heard all manner of creative excuses. The sun was in my eyes. I didn’t know the gun was there. Somebody must have slipped it in while I wasn’t looking, even though you people tell me to keep my luggage in sight at all times. I forgot about it. Must have put it in the wrong bag. 

Look, people. It’s simple. You just don’t put the pistol in your carry-on bag. EVER. How difficult is that?

Remember, when you pull some boneheaded stunt like that, it puts you in the same league as former Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer. Love the Cowboys or hate ’em, that’s some company you really don’t wanna keep. (My apologies to Razorback fans out there. Would that St. Barry of the (Football) Fields had stayed in Little Rock and never graced the field at Texas Stadium. We’d all be happier.)

One thing to keep in mind. You remember that F. Scott Fitzgerald quote: “The rich are not like you and I?” It’s true. Ditto for the famous. When they do something stupid, they have a built-in, semi-permanent Get Out of Jail Free Card stapled to their wallets and purses. Fame and fortune will do that.

If you’re just some average schmuck, the fine folks at the TSA are gonna cut you absolutely, positively NO slack. You’ll lose your gun, your CHL permit, and likely some months of your life, finding out, up close and personal just how much fun a minimum-security prison can be. Unless you have money coming out of your wazoo, in which case, you wouldn’t be in this situation to begin with.

So will you pull a Switzer and get caught with a gun in your carry-on? I dunno, but I can’t see that it’s gonna be too difficult for you to manage it, if you just use a little common sense. And get yourself a range bag. Using a suitcase or duffel bag is just so…uncool.

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  1. better yet – keep your range bag separate from your luggage! I keep mine with my practice ammo and cleaning supplies in my home office away from the luggage.

  2. Could’ve sworn I posted a comment on this..

    Oh well, TSA hasn’t stopped jack squat since they implemented their new and improved searching techniques.

    Regardless, I really don’t see how anyone could just misplace a loaded handgun in a suitcase, or why anyone would store one in a suitcase to begin with. Really, it’s common sense, not rocket science. I would not feel safe around anyone who “misplaces” a loaded firearm in a piece of luggage.

  3. Years ago (WAY before 911), I accidently went through airport security TWICE with a NAA .22 mini-revolver, undetected. After also putting it through the wash, I decided if I couldn’t remember I HAD the thing, it would do me no good if I NEEDED it!
    Now, with explosive residue sniffers and all, I won’t even keep firearm-related items of any kind (including shooting clothes) stored in same closet or space as traveling luggage.
    And I sure can’t forget the G30 I now carry!


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