Wednesday, May 21, 2008

MYTH: "Check a starter pistol with your camera equipment to prevent it getting lost!"

There's been a few posts on this, some from Bruce Schneier (who I think originated the idea) and it was picked up by a host of others.

Unfortunately, it's completely wrong. Airline policies, TSA regulations, and US Federal Law all prohibit marking or tracking firearms in checked luggage because whatever mark, database, or whatever they use will be used by the unscrupulous to steal the checked firearms.

USC 18 922(e)

No common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag, or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package, luggage, or other container that such package, luggage, or other container contains a firearm.
This includes special handling marks, computer tracking, separate bins, etc. Same reason the UPS and FedEx don't mark packages containing guns.

So, sorry. The starter pistol you declare does not decrease your chances of losing your luggage in any way, shape, or form.

The only reason that the TSA requires you to declare firearms is some moron doesn't pack something like a loaded benchrest rifle with a 6-oz trigger that blows a hole in the fuel tank when someone in seat 16A sneezes.


Network Geek said...

That's a relatively new change. If you look closely, that was enacted in 2006. Previous to that, they did, in fact, tag your bag if it had a firearm in it. I know, because I transported a firearm via checked luggage on a commercial flight sometime before 1998 and I watched them tag the bag.

brownep said...

The major issue is not the tracking, but rather that if a bag contains a firearm you can use your own lock on it. TSA approved locks are flimsy and easy to break open.

I need to phone Porter and CATSA to see if they have the same lock policy for firearms.