Flying today is bad enough, but if you’re flying with a firearm, pack your patience. I’ve had to declare a firearm a number of times when flying, and for the most part, it hasn’t been too terribly bad. But one time sticks out in my head, and looking back, I can now find a modicum of humor in it.
When you check in, you have to tell the ticket agent you have a firearm, show it and the empty magazine, and show there is no round chambered. Put it in the case, throw the lock on, and pray it’s in your suitcase when you land.
So I am checking in and quietly tell the agent (a “wee” fella) that I have a firearm to declare, and I start to pop open the case…I look at him and the expression on his face is one of abject horror. He stammers “One moment” and flees, flapping his wrists. I half expected him to wail “I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no babies!” Well, I don’t know about babies (doubt he ever had to worry about that) but he sure as hell didn’t know his airline’s protocol for checking in a gun.
The next thing I know, there’s a supervisor, two other agents, and Butterfly McQueen standing in front of me…supervisor says, “I’m training these two…can you start from the beginning, so they know what to do?” Sure, I’m fine with that. Meanwhile, all the people in line are watching in fascination, much to my chagrin.
I start from the beginning, go through all the steps, show the gun, etc., lock it up, put it in my suitcase, and wait…then the questions to the supervisor begin. “What do we look for?” “How do we know there’s no bullet in the gun?” (Pay attention, Scooter – I just racked it back to show you) and the best: “Do we need a key for the lock on the case?” (That’d be a big fat NO, sweetie)
Paperwork finished, suitcase closed, and the supervisor says “Any last questions?” And I hear “Lady, what kind of gun is that?” I just smiled.
The kicker is I was coming home from my mother’s funeral, and in my carry-on was a very large amount of cash and her jewelry…gun, cash, jewelry…all I needed was a kilo of cocaine, and I was Scarface’s sister. Makes me wonder if I’m on some “list” with HSA?