Baggage Handler Shot; Baggage Packer in BIG Trouble

Per one of our local TV stations, as quoted on MSNBC.com:

GRAPEVINE, Texas, 5:15 p.m. CDT April 11, 2003 – An airline employee was accidentally shot Friday morning while handling baggage at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Officials said an American Airlines baggage screener dropped a piece of luggage that contained a gun. The gun then reportedly discharged at a ramp area in Terminal C at about 11:30 and shot the employee in the foot. The worker was treated at a Grapevine hospital and later released.

The airport has referred the case to the FBI and Transportation Security Administration.

To me, this is inexcusable. (There’s a joke in here about getting even with baggage handlers for treating bags badly, but that’s not funny right now). The rules for traveling with firearms aren’t secrets, and are openly available. And putting a loaded gun in your luggage is more than stupid, it’s dangerous (ask the fellow with the newly creased foot). This could just as well have gone off inflight, causing all kinds of problems, up to and including loss of the aircraft (and you, you fool, who packed a loaded gun in your suitcase).

AA.com says:

Firearms and Ammunition may not be carried by a passenger on an aircraft. However, unloaded firearms may be transported in checked baggage if declared to the agent at check in and packed in a crush-proof container manufactured specifically for the firearm or a hard-sided suitcase. Handguns must be in a locked container. Properly packaged small arms ammunition for personal use may be transported in checked luggage. Amounts may vary depending on the airline.

I’m willing to bet the hassel avoided by not declaring the gun wasn’t worth it.