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Old October 4, 2009, 07:11 PM   #1
Jackie
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Old range bag and airplane screening

Before I got around to getting a proper bag for transport to and from the range, I used a soft sided travel bag. I used to roll up this bag and pack it along with my checked baggage (or in my carry on bag), so I had extra space to pack things if I need it on a trip.

About a month and a half has passed since taking it to the range. If I take it through airport security, will it still have chemical traces that will set off a monitor/ sniffer dog? How long do chemical traces, that are screened for, linger?

Does anyone have experience with this type of thing?

Am I destined to get pulled aside for an extra-thorough screening or should I just get myself a new travel bag?

(I'm heading to NYC so I'm not taking/checking a handgun on this trip, just concerned about extra scrutiny/travel time.)

Thanks!
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Old October 5, 2009, 10:16 AM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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Clean the bag with isopropyl alcohol.
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Old October 5, 2009, 11:25 AM   #3
paull
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Yes.
I have been randomly chosen for "special attention" and had my sandals flagged for explosive residue.

They were very curious about this.
I explained that I could have been exposed while on a trip to a range a few days prior.

I was delayed for several minutes while the discussed their options.
Eventually they allowed me to board, with no further issues.

I have noticed that since that incident, I am ALWAYS chosen for "special attention".

I am VERY careful to not expose my luggage to my hobby. I suspect that the offending bag would fail to meet me at my destination.
p
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Old October 5, 2009, 11:26 AM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paull
I have noticed that since that incident, I am ALWAYS chosen for "special attention".
That would be very interesting, since there is NO record of any kind kept from those situations, there is no way that any screening officer after that day would have any way of knowing that such a thing ever happened. It is also not particularly unusual to receive alarms from people's shoes, and there is a SOP for dealing with said alarm. If every passenger whose shoes caused an alarm was selected for secondary screening from that day forward then it would be a very short time before EVERYONE was perpetually selected.
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; October 5, 2009 at 11:41 AM.
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Old October 5, 2009, 12:04 PM   #5
koolminx
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Why bother keeping your shooting stuff separate? If you did nothing wrong, and aren't carrying, just tell the idiots that you shoot a lot and to live with it or get you a lawyer...

If the screening metal detector don't go off and you don't have explosives on you or in your luggage, they have no precedent to keep you longer than necessary to search.

Right? Wrong?
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Old October 5, 2009, 12:16 PM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
If the screening metal detector don't go off and you don't have explosives on you or in your luggage, they have no precedent to keep you longer than necessary to search.

Right? Wrong?
Technically you are right. However, "precedent to keep you" is entirely up to the screener(s) in question. If they receive an explosives alarm on you or your bag then you are in for enhanced screening.


One thing that people should also understand is that the explosives machines are not looking for gun powder. I have heard many people say that the nitroglycerine residue can set the machines off but I have personally DIRECTLY sampled firearms, ammunition, spent cases, hands of shooters and hunters, clothing of shooters and hunters and both the inside and outside of baggage containing firearms and ammunition and NOT ONCE did I receive an alarm on those items.
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Old October 5, 2009, 12:24 PM   #7
koolminx
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Gotcha! I see fully but had to put it out
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Old October 6, 2009, 01:34 PM   #8
paull
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PK...
They did document my name, addy, etc.
I have no idea what happened with this info.

Again, I do not fly often, but get the extra attention EVERY time.

I'll be heading out of Hobby next week.
Let's see what happens.
p
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Old October 6, 2009, 02:01 PM   #9
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You're in the database, even if the "screeners" don't know it exists.
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Old October 6, 2009, 02:03 PM   #10
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
You're in the database, even if the "screeners" don't know it exists.
Of course you are. That would be the giant conspiracy database that is used by all agencies tasked with perpetuating the conspiracy, both foreign and domestic.

The only "list" or database that is kept by DHS or TSA is the "no-fly" list. If you're on that list there will be no doubt. If you're not on that list then you're not on ANY list.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Paull
PK...
They did document my name, addy, etc.
I have no idea what happened with this info.
Hm, yes, there is a record kept of the name of the passenger and flight number when the machines alarms, I forgot about that. That info is not distributed in any way or added to any list or database, however.
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; October 6, 2009 at 02:16 PM.
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Old October 6, 2009, 02:31 PM   #11
paull
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Truthfully, I'm not really concerned about the whole thing...
I don't enjoy air travel at all, and avoid it if possible.

As far as being on "the list", whoop-de-doo.
They'll never take me alive.

I'm sure that they are watching me type this right now.
p
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Old October 6, 2009, 02:44 PM   #12
Tombstonejim
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I made a trip to Africa Kenya and Tanzania. We needed a lot of stuff in soft bags so I gave my wife an aviator kit bag that I had had in Vietnam for several years. It must have had all kinds of ammo and what not in it at various times.

On our way out of Kenya the screening lit up and flagged the bag. They took everything out of that bag and did everything but cut it up in little pieces. They new it was showing explosives but could not find any. we almost missed the flight while they did all of this stuff.

My wife still hates me for it.
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Old October 6, 2009, 05:57 PM   #13
darkgael
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Yep.

Quote:
About a month and a half has passed since taking it to the range. If I take it through airport security, will it still have chemical traces that will set off a monitor/ sniffer dog? How long do chemical traces, that are screened for, linger?

Does anyone have experience with this type of thing?
Yep. Happened to me. Don't use the bag.
I was at JFK for a flight. This was about six years ago. My wife was with me. I had my old range bag with me as a carry-on. It had been cleaned. It had been a long time since it had had ammo or fired cases in it.
At security, I put the thing into the scanner. I went through the metal detector. No problem. My bag was stopped and security personnel were looking it over. They looked for a while.
My wife had been ahead of me and was waiting on a bench a few yards away. I was watching the security folk, thinking to myself "what could be the problem? Did I leave a knife in there or something? Or something.
Afterwards my wife told me - this was when there were still lots of National Guard and other armed service personnel in the airports - "you didn't notice what happened after they stopped your bag. They must have called or something because three AR15 armed soldiers took up position right behind you."
I was unaware of that because a very official and serious fellow, not in a uniform, approached me and asked "Is that your bag?" "Yes, it is, I said." "Well," he said, "we found traces of RDX in your bag."
Fortunately, I knew what RDX was and that it is a Nitro based compound. So I knew that they were detecting traces of old powders still in the bag. I explained that it had been a range bag, that I reloaded my own ammo, yadda, yadda.
"You should use another bag" he said. And we went on our way.
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Old October 6, 2009, 06:18 PM   #14
guns and more
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I was in LAX waiting for my flight home one day when I was paged to the desk.
I was told my checked luggage had flunked the screening and I was going to be taken to security. To the credit of the airline I walked to the jetway, down the stairs, where they had a van waiting. We drove across the ramp, through a back door, where I saw my suitcase laying open on a table. After what seemed like forever, a TSA agent asked for my ID, took it to a book and wrote EVERYTHiNG down then gave it back to me and said,"have a nice flight". I said, "Don't you want to ask me anything?" Answer:"No."
I was back in the van, back to the gate, and on my flight.
The only thing that makes sense is I had been at an event that had some pyro in the stage show. Some of the smoke may have gotten on my things.
I figured in this politically correct world, they wanted to look at me (no turban)
but did not ask anything.

So, no, don't take that bag to the airport.
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Old October 7, 2009, 06:37 PM   #15
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Dogs

...you Bet...don't know jack about machines that sniff but both my GSD will...as will many others...
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Old October 9, 2009, 10:13 PM   #16
Jackie
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Thanks for the replies. The bag stays home.
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Old October 10, 2009, 02:26 PM   #17
IXLR8
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3 months after 9/11, we went on our honeymoon through the international terminal at the airport. They x-rayed my carry on bag, and x-rayed it again, and let me go. The same bag was hand inspected in Jamaica, very thoroughly I might add.

Mid week at a Sandals resort I was looking for something in my bag, and found a full clip of .40 cal hollow points. Needless to say, I disposed of the ammo, and stored the clip in my checked luggage. I might still be in jail if it were found.

NEVER USE A RANGE BAG FOR A CARRY ON. EVER.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old October 10, 2009, 03:07 PM   #18
safarihunter
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screening

I had a bag flagged for further checking not too long ago.

I was on vacation and had a pair of sandals that I sometimes used for yard work.

Apparantly the freshly applied fertilizer that I walked in was responsible for my special treatment.
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Old October 10, 2009, 05:45 PM   #19
fastforty
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Reminds me:

I had my Pact shooting timer in my carry on bag. Everyone's camera was getting turned on and of course, my timer got pulled out & turned on too. When you turn it on, it beeps & the display reads something like "Timer Command: Push GO to start". When you push go, a 3 second timer ticks down ending with a piercing beep. The box has several plug-in jacks on the back of it, it most likely could be easily modified to serve as a bomb timer (or even contain a bomb within itself). The screener (who didn't seem to have an IQ much over 60) just handed it to me and motioned me on through
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Last edited by fastforty; October 10, 2009 at 10:23 PM. Reason: info
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Old October 10, 2009, 06:26 PM   #20
wally626
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I get extra explosives screening every time I fly. A medical device I carry with me must have been the subject of some special alert, it has gone from no problem, to remove it like a computer for x-rays, to do an explosives swab every time. I must certainly remember never to touch the carry bag after shooting. God help me if it turns up positive sometime, i will be in screening forever.

I had a friend at work who claimed he was getting picked every time for extra search as we boarded the plane, back when they did that more often. So the next flight we are standing in line and he tells me this, so I like a fool say lets switch places in line. Of course I get the extra search this time.

Last edited by wally626; October 10, 2009 at 06:27 PM. Reason: tpo
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Old October 13, 2009, 12:37 PM   #21
drail
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I have traveled by air on several occasions using a range bag (with no banned items in it or on me) and had it taken off and swabbed and analyzed and returned to me a couple of times. Other times it went right through with no further inspection. This is the Govt. folks. It doesn't have to make sense.
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Old October 13, 2009, 01:29 PM   #22
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
I get extra explosives screening every time I fly. A medical device I carry with me must have been the subject of some special alert, it has gone from no problem, to remove it like a computer for x-rays, to do an explosives swab every time. I must certainly remember never to touch the carry bag after shooting. God help me if it turns up positive sometime, i will be in screening forever.
Certain medical equipment, such as CPAP machines, make x-ray screening difficult. The extra screening fills that hole.


Quote:
I have traveled by air on several occasions using a range bag (with no banned items in it or on me) and had it taken off and swabbed and analyzed and returned to me a couple of times. Other times it went right through with no further inspection. This is the Govt. folks. It doesn't have to make sense.
If a range bag is chosen for additional screening it is a random event. The screeners are regularly choosing random bags for screening.


I say again- Gun powder, gunpowder residue and firearms DO NOT set off the explosives machines, except by random contamination from another source just like 99.99% of other bags that cause an alarm.
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-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; October 13, 2009 at 02:09 PM.
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Old October 13, 2009, 02:05 PM   #23
RickB
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I have used my range bag as carry-on luggage. I put the usual contents of the bag - ammo, mags, shooting glasses, spare parts - in my checked bag, and put stuff like books, sunglasses, etc. in the range bag. When I get to my destination, I put the gun gear back in the range bag. While I have since stopped doing this (I now put the range bag, intact, within my checked bag), I never had a problem doing so. I have had my shoes "sniffed" for residue, and am surprised they haven't "caught" me, as my leisure shoes are generally the same cross-trainers that I wear when I shoot.
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