US Airways Employee Helps Roommate Smuggle Gun Aboard To Avoid Checking It

The AP is reporting that the employee charged with smuggling a unloaded handgun and ammunition aboard a US Airways flight was trying to help his roommate avoid checking it.

According to the article, the employee’s roommate was moving to Arizona, and did not understand the proper procedure for traveling with firearms. When he asked the US airways employee for help, the employee allegedly offered to smuggle the gun aboard.

The employee has a different story. He claims he accidentally grabbed the wrong bag from their home that morning and was switching it back.

The passenger has a license for the gun and a permit to carry it. For those of you thinking of traveling with firearms — be sure to read the TSA’s rules. It’s possible to travel with both guns and ammo if you plan ahead and check a bag. We hate US Airways baggage fees too — but we bet these two guys wish they’d just paid the extra money.

FBI: Airline worker helped roommate get gun on jet [USAToday]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Canino says:

    Another caution: You might read and understand the TSA’s rules for traveling with firearms, but that doesn’t mean the TSA person you’re dealing with knows the rules. Print out the rules and take them with you, and if there is any issue don’t bother arguing, just immediately ask to speak to a supervisor.

    A quick Google search will find many instances where the TSA person had no idea what to do and/or gave incorrect information.

    • arcticJKL says:

      Skip the printout as the page could be fake. Just ask the TSA guy if he is familiar with the rules for checking a firearm, then ask for a supervisor.

    • arcticJKL says:

      And the tag is inside the bag, on the locked (you have the only key) hardsided case.

    • arcticJKL says:

      If you have everything stuffed into a gun case.

    • Raekwon says:

      @Canino: Also be aware that paintball equipment sometimes has its own rules or sometimes falls under the firearm rules or like I experienced has posted rules, a different set of rules told to you over the phone, and yet another set of rules once you try to check bags.

    • econobiker says:

      @Canino: Also make sure you know what the legal carry and registration requirements for the local area are too. If you try checking a hand gun from an airport in NJ and are from NJ and fail to possess the correct license/registration you are in deep trouble if the local police get you. The TSA might not care but the local cops will.

  2. MitchEvious says:

    I think they might be cursed… Birds, Deer, Guns… Just waiting for the drugs and murder to show up they’ll be complete.

  3. Corporate_guy says:

    Unloaded? He had the ammo and the gun with him. It should be treated as a loaded weapon.

    • lawnmowerdeth says:

      @hwyengr: Sorry, the Heller ruling invalidated that argument. I can’t believe people are still clinging to it.

    • pop top says:

      @Corporate_guy: Have you ever used a gun before? No bullets in the gun means it can’t be used as a weapon. Hunters drive around with their ammo and their unloaded weapon locked in a case together. Does that make it loaded?

      • nakedscience says:

        @squinko: No, it doesn’t make it loaded, but everyone aside from the person carrying the gun should treat it as loaded, because you can never be 100% sure (do you just trust someone to say, “It’s not loaded, promise!”), ESPECIALLY in places like an airport.

        • morlo says:

          @Trai_Dep: I always ask them why they don’t repeal it if they think it is vague and really only applies to organized militias. It’s not like the militias would mind.

  4. Trai_Dep says:

    Betchya even odds that this is one of those knuckleheaded concealed-and-carry wingnuts who thought it was his Jabezus’ given right to lock-and-load in every square inch of the territorial United States because the NRA and AM talk radio told him it was true.
    Got to keep the proles occupied with trivia, I guess. Although it must smart an awful lot when brutally confronted against the hard rock of reality.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @Trai_Dep: Add: Of course you can carry a gun while traveling on an airline. It’s simply that whenyou do, you’re not above the rules, Bubba. Suck it up, like an adult.

    • pegr says:

      @Trai_Dep: Gee, I’m not a knucklehead, but I am atheist, not a member of the NRA, don’t listen to AM (I do listen to NPR), and I do believe I have the right to carry “in every square inch of the US” because that’s what the Constitution says. Tell me, what part of “shall not be infringed” do you have a problem understanding?

      Don’t try the “private entity” argument. Airlines are public facilities/contract carriers.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        @pegr: Oh, don’t mind him. He thinks he’s the smartest around here, but he’s just the loudest. A one-trick pony, if you want to call yelling “capitalism sucks” much of a trick.

      • henwy says:


        Trai is just a little ignorant and behind the times. He doesn’t seem to realize that his progressive pals have left him behind. The latest push for the 2nd amendment as an individual right is from liberal/progressive legal scholars.

      • supercereal says:


        Tell me, what part of “shall not be infringed” do you have a problem understanding?

        Well, Congress can’t infringe, but I sure as hell can when you’re on those square inches that form my property.

      • hwyengr says:

        @pegr: Tell me, what part of “shall not be infringed” do you have a problem understanding?

        For me, it’s not so much the “shall not be infringed” part as the “well-regulated militia” part.

        • Crabby Cakes says:

          @hwyengr: You, I like.

        • Trai_Dep says:

          @hwyengr: I always ask the people that feel that the 2nd A should have no restrictions, whatsoever, if the other amendments should similarly be treated so.
          Not because I expect consistency, but just because it’s amusing to watch them squirm and sputter so uncomfortably.

          • OMG! Con Seannery! says:

            @Trai_Dep: I think there are places where the 2nd Amendment should not apply. An airliner is one of those. Schools are the other. Well, that’s just about it, other than secured areas.

          • OMG! Con Seannery! says:

            @Jack Doyle: Well sure! Are you going to give the man with a gun the runaround?

      • William Brinkman says:

        @pegr: Are you the fabled THE TACTICAL, gooning up firing ranges with your specific brand of TAKES SHIT TOO FAR?

        • Saisu Mimen says:

          @William Brinkman:

          On the Internets, they’re referred to as OPERATORS (yes, in all caps)

          BTW, pegr, you really think it’s a good idea for people to carry guns in courts and bars?

          • Traveshamockery says:

            @Saisu Mimen: Is a rule and a sign going to stop someone from carrying out a crime? Exhibit A: Every school shooting, ever, which all took place in “gun free zones”.

            • nakedscience says:

              @The-Lone-Gunman: What are you talking about? This is the first time we got the actual details of what happened. Before this, we weren’t sure what relationship these two people had with each other. There’s nothing “captain obvious” about it. Stop trying to be witty, it’s not working.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @pegr: Wait. You seriously think that there should be no restrictions on carrying loaded guns on airplanes? Ever? REALLY?!
        Whoa. Just… Whoa.

    • Traveshamockery says:

      @Trai_Dep: The standards for getting and maintaining a star get lower every day…

  5. kepler11 says:

    the bigger question is how the employee was able to get it through without being searched, and whether, if you believe in our general security strategy, this is a big loophole (of many).

    • eggman131 says:

      @kepler11: That’s not even a question, really–airline employees just aren’t searched. In 2 years of working for US Airways I was never searched, nor did I hear of a coworker being searched. It’s a joke.

  6. Shoelace says:

    How are employees screened at US Airways? This guy really seemed to exhibit poor judgement. That or he knew the system, figured he was unlikely to get caught, and was unlucky.


  7. Josh says:

    Of course, declaring to the airline that you have a firearm in your checked baggage is a sure-fire way to have that firearm stolen by one of the airline’s baggage handlers. Not that smuggling a weapon on the plane is a good solution to this problem, but would you be happy if the airport required you to put tags on your checked luggage with labels like “expensive laptop in this bag” or “easily fenced jewelry in this one!”?

    • pegr says:

      @Josh: Actually, no, that is incorrect. They watch bags with guns very closely. In fact, if you want to ensure safe arrival of any checked bag, throw in a starter’s pistol, and declare it at the counter.

      Don’t put your kilo of hash in there though…

      • tard says:


        Tell that to all these people who had their guns stolen when flying….

        “So far, KIRO Team 7 Investigators tracked at least 34 handguns presumed stolen, including 10 guns missing from LAX in Los Angeles, three in Portland, three in Tampa, and two each in San Antonio and Chicago O’Hare. Oakland, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Washington D.C. Dulles and Ronald Reagan airports reported thieves stealing handguns in secure areas of the airport as well.”


  8. The-Lone-Gunman says:

    The AP is reporting that the employee charged with smuggling a unloaded handgun and ammunition aboard a US Airways flight was trying to help his roommate avoid checking it.

    In other news, water was determined to be wet and the absence of the Sun means that night has fallen.

    …we’ll be back with more of the Captain Obvious news report right after this word from Rock Star Energy Drink–the drink of the Savages!

  9. spongebue says:

    I used to work for Northwest for a summer last year, and I’m sure the rules are about the same.

    First off, it seems like the best way to start the process (I wasn’t trained on this specifically, but everyone did it from what I remember) is to talk to one of the people you check in with, and tell them what you have. They’ll summon the right people. Obviously, bring as much documentation for the gun as you can, and come as early as reasonably possible (more security checks are needed than normal).

    That said, I only had to go through security a dozen times when I worked that summer. A few times when I first started and didn’t have my airport badge, and a few times when I’d be escorting passengers. Otherwise, we can use our badge and PIN number to get through a few doors within the airport, including those needed to go through security. Yes, we did have background checks done for that privilege, along with an hour-long lecture on acceptable things to do with the badge.

    For one thing, we cannot use the badge to bypass security before a flight. An airport cop did that, everyone knew it was by accident, and he got a big fine and was fired, as I recall. They also test us as we are working. They sometimes have people walk in secure areas (not just the passenger areas, but areas near the tarmac) without the badge on. If you cannot see the badge, you are supposed to ask to see it. If they don’t have one, and you report it, you get a reward. If you do nothing, and it’s a decoy, you get a fine. One of my coworkers even got a citation when a plainclothes cop was able to come through a closing door into the secure area (piggybacking is a huge no-no).

    The whole system is not foolproof, by any means, but it’s not a free-for-all by any means, either. Sorry for the length of this, but some of you might find this interesting.

  10. Traveshamockery says:

    Nice, very detailed presentation from the LayerOne security conference, on flying legally with firearms

    Protip: if you fly with firearms, it’s basically impossible to get your other valuable stuff stolen because legally, you’re required to be the only one with a key to the locks on your bag. If they search your bag, you have to be present.

  11. jswilson64 says:

    To the employee and the roommate, I say to f—ing bad. One or both needs to go to prison, if only to keep someone so stupid out of society for awhile. Especially since their stories don’t jibe.

  12. Jack Doyle says:

    I’ve flown with a gun and ammunition on several occasions on multiple airlines.

    The procedure for checking a firearm is the one thing that the airlines are not completely ridiculous about.

  13. korybing says:

    It’s perfectly legal to check your firearm. Why on earth would you smuggle it in for any reason other than a malicious one? I don’t understand this guy’s story at all. Why would he want to avoid checking it? Is it really that big of a hassle?

  14. Ben Miner says:

    If these 2 morons are talking to the FBI without an attorney combined with what the allegedly did regarding the gun and the bag then they are stupid to a degree I can’t even begin to comprehend.

    • pz says:

      @Ben Miner:

      Trust me, if you’re ever in that back room being threatened to be held without charges on suspicion of terrorism (for as long as they want), you’ll talk, too, whenever they want you to, lawyer or not.

      There’s a time and place where all integrity goes out the damn window.

  15. econobiker says:

    Famous last words:
    “So, we’ll save you the money for buying a hardcase to lock your gun into.”