Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in outdoor and travel markets. A former small-town newspaper editor and reporter, she constantly hunts for news headlines you need to read. Barbara also publishes Women’s Outdoor News online and pens columns for the National Wild Turkey Federation and Shooting Sports USA. Hailing from the Ozarks of Missouri, this avid hunter is now mentoring the second generation of hunters - her own little bevy of Realtree-wearing grandchildren.
Barney Fife’s Itchy Trigger Finger in Philadelphia
It’s always national news when someone accidentally carries a gun into an airport. But the real news, in this case, is not the poor flight attendant who brought her gun to work, but the Philadelphia police officer who fired it into a nearby break room when trying to put the “safety” on a Smith & Wesson Airweight revolver.
Last Monday, New York Daily News reported that a Republic Airlines flight attendant forgot she’d packed her Smith & Wesson Airweight revolver in her bag. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners noticed it, and then called for backup from the Philadelphia police.
Here’s where it gets all Mayberry RFD/Barney Fife-ish. The policeman went to put the safety on, so the report says, and fired the gun into the break room, where one employee sat – but not in the line of fire, thank God.
Otherwise, the headline probably would read “Republic Airlines flight attendant brings gun through Philly airport security and it kills TSA agent, “instead of “Republic Airlines flight attendant brings gun through Philly airport security and it accidentially fires.”
Also, last time I checked “accidentially” was not a word.
And, the headline makes it sound like the gun just went off, all on its own.
Smith & Wesson makes a line of Airweight revolvers, and they include three models in .38 caliber: the 442, the 642 and the 637. The 442 and 642 have internal hammers. With a double action pull, that’s a heckuva trigger pull on accident. Furthermore, this gun, whichever model it was, did not “accidentally fire.”
Possibly, one of the most egregious errors in the piece, stated, “The gun discharged when the officer tried to put the safety on, according to MyFoxPhilly.com.”
Shame on whomever told MyFoxPhilly that bit of information, because these guns do not have "safeties." I'm wondering if they are referring to the cylinder release?
What is obvious is that the police officer had a finger on the trigger. What a big no-no, and then he or she had it pointed in an unsafe direction – strike two.
The flight attendant, who had a licensed concealed carry permit, was issued a citation for disorderly conduct. According to an ABC News blog, “The permit was confiscated and forwarded to the Chester County Sheriff, and the weapon — an Airweight revolver — was confiscated by the crime scene unit and transported to for testing.”
Oh, for crying out loud. They have to “test” the little gun? It works. It’s simple. It’s a revolver. It wouldn't have been shot if it weren't for the policeman's incompetence.
The officer is on desk duty. I hope the officer is sent to range duty and firearms safety classes, too.
Meanwhile, if you're traveling with guns for hunting this fall, be vigilent. Make sure all your empty casings, extra cartridges and accessories are stored and packed in accordance with airline regulations. Otherwise, if you overlook or forget something, it might cause you a world of pain and a missed flight and a confiscated gun. Or worse.