Pistol Checked into Luggage Disappears in Atlanta Airport

Pelican 1510 “Carry-On Case” is open to show storage.

As tens of millions of Americans routinely carry guns when they travel, some are bound to be stolen by thieves.  A passenger who recently traveled through Atlanta believes he is the victim of such a theft. From fox5atlanta.com:

“I said, ‘What happened?’ She said, ‘Your bag is delayed.’ I said, ‘What do you mean, delay?’ She said, ‘It didn’t make the flight.;”

The gun owner says a helpful Delta agent in Fort Lauderdale told him the airline map indicated the gun was still in Atlanta.

But once he returned to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday, that story changed.

“He goes to type the number in, now it says the gun was never checked in. Not even through Delta, or TSA,” he said. “So, somebody took it out of the system. What do you mean it’s ghost?”

Stealing a gun at an airport is a bad idea. There are cameras everywhere. Baggage is closely monitored and tracked by tag number. This correspondent has traveled with firearms dozens of times without a problem. Consider the Biden appointee who stole women’s luggage for some weird fetish. They were caught on camera and tracked down.  One author recommends checking a gun in your luggage as a security measure.

Guns stolen at airports make for a high-profile case. The owner of the custom pistol missing in Atlanta checked the firearm correctly, and watched as it went through TSA processing. It is difficult to erase records of this activity without leaving traces behind. My prediction is the person will eventually have his firearm found and returned.

The most common problem at airports with guns happens when a few of the tens of millions of people who routinely travel armed forget a carry gun in their carry-on luggage. In 2022, one person forgot they had a firearm in their carry-on for about every 3,500 people who have carry permits.

Occasionally, a gun smuggling system is placed in operation and eventually found out. In 2021, two Delta Airlines employees lost their jobs in a case that involved smuggled guns.  From wsbtv.com:

A Delta Airlines spokesperson confirmed that Abdoul Diallo was terminated by Delta Airlines around the time of his arrest.

According to court documents, a special agent with the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said on Oct. 11, 2021, “firearms were recovered concealed within two karaoke boxes, and further concealed within two pieces of checked luggage destined to Saint Martin at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

In 2014, what was suspected as a long-running gun smuggling operation was busted. From 11alive:

Officials said Harvey would park inside a Delta employee lot and board a bus that took him directly into a secure area of the airport.

At the same time, Henry would book a flight — often using a buddy pass from his mom.

Security cameras captured Harvey passing through TSA security like any other passenger. He would reportedly text with Harvey to arrange a swap of the bag of the guns. Sometimes the exchange took place in a bathroom.

The feds say Henry would board then plane, touchdown in New York and sell the guns. Federal authorities suspect Henry has been doing smuggling guns for upwards of five years.

Sometimes, thefts of multiple firearms occur with likely inside information. In 2019, two boxes containing 20 Glock pistols were stolen from the Atlanta airport.

My preference is to travel by car, but sometimes air travel is cheaper, faster, and the only reasonable method to accomplish what is needed.  Declaring firearm(s) at the ticket counter in a checked bag is reasonably secure. Very few thefts occur from checked bags containing firearms, because such thefts are high profile, likely to be investigated, and solved.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean WeingartenDean Weingarten

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