Traveling with Delta…
Before Delta airlines made the announcement in December 2017 that they weren’t going to be offering their NRA discount anymore, I purchased tickets for my family vacation this year. Yesterday was my flight, so I decided to wear an NRA shirt and my NRA hat for traveling – I made it very clear and prominent that I was a proud NRA member. And I got a few thumbs ups from people, including the Delta employees in one of the terminals, which was a pleasant surprise.
That wasn’t the most surprising part of my travels – something else was much more perplexing. Ordinarily, I carry my firearm everywhere I go, however when you fly, you cannot carry, so I had to check it with my checked baggage. Per airline requirements, my ammunition was in a separate box from my unloaded, stored firearm. I went to the counter, declared it, at which point they contacted the TSA, and they came over to do what they had to do. They took the bag, and everything was absolutely fine.
They told me I would have to go to the special baggage claim to pick it up – which didn’t bother me. When I did so though, I was stunned to find out that my bag had been closed by two very heavy duty zip ties wrapped around either side. I asked them why that was done to my baggage, and their response was interesting. They told me that they changed the requirement after an incident that occurred involving a man who flew from Alaska to Texas, I believe. He had checked his firearm, then went to pick it up from the baggage claim as per the norm – after picking it up, he loaded the firearm and opened fire. They said that “securing baggage” was a response to that incident.
I know that there are always overreactions when bad people do bad things, but I thought this was quite ridiculous. They zip tied my bag, and looking at it, I was thinking, “Gosh, if someone had bad intentions, all they would have to do is wiggle those around, get the firearm out, load it in the bathroom, and then the incident occurs all over again.” What I’m saying here is this: They were responding to an isolated incident, and it was a knee-jerk reaction. I don’t know whether other airlines are doing something similar. When it comes to these reactions, it makes people feel good to think they’re doing something to minimize the opportunity for events like that to occur again. What they don’t understand, is that’s not an effective strategy. Criminals are always going to utilize their criminal mindset to engage in criminal behavior – a few additional zip ties are not going to stop them.
I am thankful however, that we can lawfully transport firearms from one jurisdiction to another.
Have you had similar experiences traveling with your firearm(s)? Let us know on Facebook, in the comments.