Why Marking Bags With Guns Is A Bad Idea

It’s not impossible to travel with a firearm. It has to be in your checked luggage, of course, but every airline has procedures for transporting firearms when you travel.

I’m not saying it’s not a pain in the butt, of course, but it can be done.

However, some airlines have been known to flag bags with guns. There’s nothing stopping them from doing it, either, and that’s a problem.

Why? Well, because not every airport employee is a trustworthy angel.

Two workers at a New Orleans airport were arrested after allegedly stealing property from checked luggage.

Karl Brown Jr., 20, and an unidentified woman who worked at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport are accused of a number of crimes after their scheme was discovered, according to Nola.com.

“They stole cash, guns, electronics and other property from the baggage,” Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jason Rivarde said.

The department did not detail how Brown and the woman became suspects, but said the two are accused of stealing from bags between December 2019 and May 2020. A search of Brown’s apartment turned up multiple items that had been reported missing by travelers, including luxury jewelry and purses, a handgun and a knife, clothing and electronics.

Now, any theft is a bad thing, don’t get me wrong.

However, I think we can all agree that the theft of a firearm is a special kind of problem. Stealing guns isn’t just about stealing property, it’s also about what happens after it’s stolen.

Stolen weapons are the lifeblood of the black market for weapons. While some are purchased with the intention of being sold to criminals, the vast majority of the weapons in criminal hands were stolen from someone first.

As such, it becomes imperative that airlines take reasonable and responsible steps to try and protect bags with firearms from becoming potential targets.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. There’s no indication that these two alleged thieves had any indication there was a firearm in the bag. It’s most likely that they just popped open a bag and “lucked up” and found a firearm.

It’s not about these two, though. It’s about the people who haven’t been caught yet.

A couple of years ago, one of the well-known firearms instructors–I forget who–wrote a blog post about how he was furious at one of the major airlines. The airline in question had “flagged” his bag that had a firearm in it with a visual marker that his bag had a weapon inside. He was angry and he had every right to be.

Now, this was a couple of years ago and I’m not sure if this airline still does this or not. I haven’t been on an airplane in years at this point, so I haven’t got a clue. I sincerely hope they don’t, though, and crap like this is why. While airport jobs are tough to get and require a background check, background checks only tell us that you haven’t been caught doing anything. They’re not indicative of future behavior necessarily.

My sincere hope is that airlines will look at this story, look at their own policies, and recognize that airport employees aren’t saints and sometimes aren’t even good people and adjust accordingly.

Jul 29, 2021 12:30 PM ET