Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Perking Pretty Normal This AM...

I'm back to reasonably normal this AM...I may even try to get in a bicycle this afternoon before the weekly weekend snowstorm rolls in. Since I've had a major shingles attack in the past and it almost blinded me, I've been instructed by my doctors to try and head off any subsequent attack. If I catch the precursors of an attack — which is not hard, since it's sort of like a sheet metal screw being driven into my head — I can head it off. That seems to have worked, so all good.

I see that the Third Circuit has upheld the arrest of a Utah man for illegal possession of a firearm at the Newark, NJ, airport (Snowflakes in Hell, here & here). In short, the man got bumped while he was transiting through Newark. As is usual when you get badly bumped, he was forced by the airline to reclaim his luggage, which included his legally declared firearm. He took the luggage to his hotel room, and when he checked in the next morning he was arrested for illegally possessing a firearm in New Jersey. He spent 4 days in jail; then the charges were apparently dropped (Say Uncle),

This is a huge issue for those of us who travel weekly with firearms. The airports that do not honor Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA) include Newark, the Chicago airports, the New York City airports and the Boston airport. D.C. Reagan is suspect, because you end up in D.C., duh. For the most part, it's easy to work around the northeastern airports — Philly instead of NYC; Manchester NH instead of Boston. Chicago, though, is a big problem, as much of the traffic in the central U.S. goes there, abd the airports are a crap shoot in the winter. I've spent more time sleeping on the floor of O'Hare than all the other bumped flight combined and squared. My own solution is to schedule the trips for the non-stops and where that's not possible to route through Dallas or Philly, in case I'm bumped. Worst case is getting stuck in a big eastern storm, where you can no longer pick your flights but have to grab wha's available...for example, a year or so ago I was flying out of Manchester with guns and a storm whacked most of the East Coast...the only flights I could get if I wanted to fly that week was a double hop, Manchester-Reagan, Reagan-Chicago, Chicago-Denver...I sweated bullets, so to speak, the entire time.

I check in the day before on the computer so I'll know in advance if there are problems...this has allowed me to ship guns home to myself rather than carry them on the planes when I got rerouted through a bad airport. Say Uncle, through a firearms attorney, has an interesting solution I've never thought of — if you end up stuck in a bad airport and you're forced to reclaim your baggage, find a local cop BEFORE you claim your baggage, explain your situation and ask whether the firearms can be stored for you until you're ready to board the plane. I have no idea whether that will work or not, but it beats a trip to the slam!

This obviously shouldn't happen. The FOPA, which apparently applies only to vehicles, says that if you're legal in your home state and you're legal in the state you're traveling to, and the firearm is encased and inaccessible, you're protected no matter what states you drive through. It's utterly irrational that this doesn't apply to airports.

10 comments:

nj_larry said...

"I only play a doctor"....but a buddy of mine got a vaccine shot for his shingles (chickenpox virus). It was Zostavax. Might want to talk to your doc.

Ulmus said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better!

After what you wnet through the first time, I'd be "on alert" every moment.

Thanks for pushing yourself to type out these blogs!

Robin said...

I think that "solution" was included in the opinion. Unfortunately, the opinion acknowledges but does not deal with the fact that the police are not obligated to cooperate.

And are less likely to do so in the very locations where this is a problem.

I think we need to have a friendly congressman introduce legislation requiring TSA to solve this.

DC Handgun Info said...

Michael:

National Airport, now known as Reagan National, is in Virginia, so your possession of locked and empty guns should not pose a problem. No registration in Va., no firearms owners ID card. Open carry (in nonsterile areas of airports) and "shall-issue" concealed carry. Best of luck

wrangler5 said...

Isn't part of the problem that you may end up diverted to Newark even though you were headed to Phily?

As I recall, there was a similar case a few years ago where a hunter from AZ (or some reasonable western state) was flying to PA with his guns for a hunt. But the plane got diverted to Newark and he ended up in NJ jails for several days because they made him take possession of his guns at the airport. The story was that he told the cops he had a problem, asked them to take possession of his guns and hold 'em until the flight out. But the cops just said no and stood around looking at him until he touched the gun cases. Then arrested him.

He eventually got out and charges were dropped, but I'm sure it cost him a fortune, and I'm not sure the cops ever gave the guns back.

DamDoc said...

How is alf doing?

Anonymous said...

the airline cannot FORCE you to pick up your baggage contrary to popular belief, you can simply leave the terminal and force them to retain custody, I had to do this in Chicago, taking a cab to the local walmart to buy spare underwear or all the normal lost luggage things you would do is a lot more comforting than the alternative...

Anonymous said...

This is just another reason to drive and not fly.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy driving coast-to-coast? Driving not always a practical option.

RSR

Frank W. James said...

Anon@6:34: I drive as much as I possibly can, but that simply is NOT a practical alternative in all cases. Try driving to Hawaii or if your destination is more than 700 miles and you HAVE TO BE THERE in 24 hours. Yeah, you could drive it, but you are too tired to do business or whatever else requires your presence.

In many instances circumstances require you to fly and this problem is BIG. It needs legal redress...

All The Best,
Frank W. James