The Transportation Security Agency discovered 101 pistols in carry-on luggage at TSA-covered airports in the US during the week of May 14-20. In that group, 9mm pistols were the clear favorite, making up 43 of the 94 pistols found. Another 23 were in .380 caliber.
There were seven .45 caliber guns, six .38 revolvers, six .40 caliber pistols, three .357 magnums, two .22 LR, two .32 caliber Kel-Tecs (one with a Crimson Trace laser), one .22 magnum North American Arms mini revolver, and even a GLOCK 20 10mm.
My vote for the most unusual goes to the unloaded Colt Woodsman discovered at O’Hare. Ernest Hemingway favored the Colt as a carry gun for the big city, because of its accuracy and ease of use. Apparently someone in Chicago was a fan, too.
The quality of the pistols found suggest most were taken from people who can legally carry them in most places. There are over 16 million people with carry permits in the United States, and there are 13 states where no permit is required to carry a gun.
The number of guns found at TSA checkpoints may be increasing. Last year about 4,000 pistols were found in carry-on luggage. That may seem like a lot, until you realize that it represents only one pistol found for every 194,000 passengers passing through the TSA checkpoints.
When you reach those numbers, you start getting into the rare-but-bound-to-happen, category.
Everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect. I once found a full box of .22 ammunition inside a computer bag I took to a conference. The ammo didn’t come back home with me.
While many find the idea of misplacing a pistol unbelievable, try doing something every day for 530 years, and never making a mistake. That’s the error ratio that one in 194,000 represents. What we don’t know is how many pistols go through without being detected.
Most of these errors are investigated and recognized for what they are: honest mistakes. Sometimes fines are imposed, sometimes not. Much depends on where the discovery occurs. In New York, there will be considerable trouble. In Alaska more sanity is likely to be employed.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.