If you don’t like your bags being out of your sight and it makes you uncomfortable to think that airline workers are rifling through your stuff, you can take advantage of the TSA’s own security rules by—eek—packing a gun.
Photo by Vince Alongi.
Most of the time, travelers are on the short-end of TSA regulations. In this instance, however, you can use travel rules to your advantage. If you’re traveling with equipment you would prefer locked up and watched more closely than your run of the mill luggage, you can pack a firearm with the equipment or luggage. Whether or not you own an actual firearm isn’t important—the TSA considers a starter pistol a firearm, and it must be checked in and secured properly. Bruce Shneier, on his security and privacy centered blog, highlights how some creative professional photographers have been using this rule to their advantage. One of the photographers writes:
A “weapons” is defined as a rifle, shotgun, pistol, airgun, and STARTER PISTOL. Yes, starter pistols – those little guns that fire blanks at track and swim meets – are considered weapons…and do NOT have to be registered in any state in the United States.
I have a starter pistol for all my cases. All I have to do upon check-in is tell the airline ticket agent that I have a weapon to declare…I’m given a little card to sign, the card is put in the case, the case is given to a TSA official who takes my key and locks the case, and gives my key back to me.
That’s the procedure. The case is extra-tracked…TSA does not want to lose a weapons case. This reduces the chance of the case being lost to virtually zero.
It’s a great way to travel with camera gear…I’ve been doing this since Dec 2001 and have had no problems whatsoever.
You can pick up a super basic starter pistol for around $16-20—really nice starter pistols can easily cost $100-200, but you’re not concerned about the quality—a rather small sum to ensure that your case of photography equipment or personal effects will be watched more carefully and only opened in your presence.
Have your own off-beat way of keeping your stuff safe while traveling? Let’s hear about it in the comments.