Apr 20 2009

Marine Arrested With Bomb Making Materials, Semi-Automatic, Hundreds Of Rounds

As the proud father of a Marine this breaking news is extremely disturbing:

A North Carolina-based US Marine was arrested at Logan Airport yesterday after federal transportation screeners discovered an undeclared semiautomatic weapon, ammunition, and bomb-making materials in his checked baggage, authorities said.

TSA screeners in Terminal B at Logan called State Police at 7:10 a.m. after they said they discovered the following items in Reed’s luggage: a locked gun box containing a semiautomatic handgun; a fully loaded gun magazine; several boxes of 9 mm and 7.62 mm ammunition; three model rocket engines containing an explosive mixture; military fuses; electronics kit boxes with various components; and a hand grenade fuse assembly with detonator.

I am hoping this is just a dumb move by someone trying to transport something they should not be transporting. The material was in the checked baggage, so it would appear not to be a potential attack on an airline. The arraignment is tomorrow, so we might learn more then. Hopefully one of my more brutal predictions concerning the DHS kerfuffle is not about to come to pass.

12 responses so far

12 Responses to “Marine Arrested With Bomb Making Materials, Semi-Automatic, Hundreds Of Rounds”

  1. crosspatch says:

    Don’t know what the point of the story is. Well, really I think I do. You have to remember that the White House holds a briefing with the left-wing press every morning. They have probably been instructed to highlight any stories of military or former military involving weapons to give some cover for Napalitano’s blithering.

    As far as I know it is legal to transport guns in checked baggage as long as you declare them. Same with the ammunition. Only problem he would have is if he didn’t declare them.

    The rocket engines are also no problem nor are the “fully loaded magazines” … those are also allowed in checked baggage. There is no requirement that I am aware of that requires magazines to be unloaded.

    The only problems he would have are with the military fuses and hand grenade fuse IF he obtained them illegally. The detonator is probably not supposed to be in the baggage.

    I will be willing to wait and see what exactly comes of this. It might be a case of stupidity where you have someone whose job in the Marines is a unit armorer and is on a change of station and had a kit bag with some bits of stuff tossed in there he forgot about or something. This might well turn out to be something, or nothing. I think it is a bit premature to say at this point. All the other stuff is, as far as I know, legal in checked baggage.

    In other news … 4 non-military people charged with shooting at people with a semi-automatic handgun. Point is that more non-military are charged with stuff like this than military.

    I am not understanding the recent push in the press to make people afraid of military people and portray them as latent terrorists.

  2. crosspatch says:

    “None of the discovered items, aside from the gun, can legally be checked onto a flight, Davis said, because they could cause an explosion in flight.”

    That is not true.

    From the TSA website:

    Firearms, ammunition and firearm parts may only be transported in checked baggage. Firearms, ammunition and firearm parts are prohibited from carry-on baggage.

    * All firearms must be declared to the air carrier during the ticket counter check-in process.
    * The firearm must be unloaded.
    * The firearm must be carried in a hard-sided container.
    * The container must be locked.
    * The passenger must provide the key or combination to the screener if it is necessary to open the container, and then remain present during screening to take back possession of the key after the container is cleared.
    * Any ammunition transported must be securely packed in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
    * Firearm magazines/clips do not satisfy the packaging requirement unless they provide a complete and secure enclosure of the ammunition (e.g., by securely covering the exposed portions of the magazine or by securely placing the magazine in a pouch, holder, holster or lanyard).
    * The ammunition may also be located in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as it is properly packed as described above.
    * Black powder and percussion caps used with black-powder type firearms are not permitted in carry-on or checked baggage.

    Also:

    Federal Aviation Agency

    Has exempted model rockets weighing 16 oz. (453 g) with engine(s) or using less than 4 oz. (113 g) of propellant from regulation.

  3. crosspatch says:

    So digging further, he would be guilty of failing to declare the gun and ammunition. He might be ok with the rocket motors depending on their size. The military stuff might require some explaining. Looks like a maximum fine of $10,000 if they hit him with the max. I hope this is simply an incident of individual stupidity and poor judgment/ignorance of regulations than anything else.

  4. enigma3535 says:

    crosspatch: I do so hope you are right and this is an example of a foolish misunderstanding regarding regulations.

    AJ: IMHO, this post is a bit excessive regarding its cynicism ["extremely disturbing" should probably have read "potentially disturbing"].

    This DHS thing appears to have derailed a lot of logical thought processes on both sides of the aisle.

    “The middle of the road is all the useable surface. The extremes of left and right are in the gutters.”
    – Dwight D. Eisenhower

  5. KauaiBoy says:

    My only problem with the story is that it is presumed that his next move was on the White House or Congress.

    Lots of people are stocking up although the military has easier access…I’m just glad they’re on my side!!!

  6. crosspatch says:

    Reasons he might have decided not to report the items:

    1. He had something to hide.
    2. He arrived at the airport late and didn’t think he had the time to do the required paperwork.
    3. He was working from pre-9/11 information and didn’t think he had to declare them.
    4. He never bothered to check to see if there were any regulations.

    My guess is that if you never hear about this story again, then it is a case of personal idiocy. If it is anything else, we will most certainly hear about it. Lets go through the list of things they found in the luggage:

    # a locked handgun box containing a semiautomatic handgun
    (legal to carry in checked luggage but needs to be declared)
    # a fully loaded gun magazine
    (legal if declared depending on magazine type or how it is packed)
    # several boxes of 9 mm and 7.62 mm ammunition
    (legal if declared)
    # three model rocket engines containing an explosive mixture
    (legal, doesn’t need to be declared if propellant charge is less than 4oz)
    # military pull-type fuses and switches
    (might have been part of his work kit but unsure of legality for baggage. He has apparently been training Marines in California and was headed back to his unit in North Carolina)
    # electronics kit boxes with various components
    (legal, doesn’t need to be declared)
    # a hand grenade fuse assembly with detonator
    (probably not legal but if this was the sort of fuse/detonator that goes into a practice grenade as is used in training, they produce something about like a 4th of July firecracker pop).

    So you have a Marine trainer headed back to his unit from a training assignment in California carrying items that seem at first glance to be used in the course of training and some personal weaponry that was undeclared. I think I might even know what the rocket motor would have been used for. They used to throw “whistlers” at us in training. These were things that had a charge a lot like a model rocket motor but the exhaust passed through a “whistle” that made a sound that was supposed to simulate incoming rounds.

    Las Vegas channel 5 is reporting the Marine has a “spotless” record.

  7. crosspatch says:

    Also, “whistlers” were used as “alarms”. You could fasten one to a tree trunk, it used a fuse much like a grenade, you run a trip wire from the pin to another tree. Someone walking through the area and night hits the tripwire, pulls the pin, sets off the “whistler” it scares the living pee out of them and you are alerted to their presence.

    Now I have no idea of the guy is legit or not, but I can find legitimate reasons why a military trainer would have all of these items in his possession. I am leaning toward personal stupidity, not malice here.

  8. crosspatch says:

    Hehe, notice #40 on this list:

    40. A $5 digital watch, a silicon controlled rectifier and a model rocket engine do make a cheap, nifty time detonator for a smoke grenade. However, I am not allowed to do this.

  9. Dc says:

    You should see what my Uncle brought back from Pacific theater WWII (Okinawa) transported on a Merchant Marine ship. He keeps them all clean and in perfect working order like a good Marine. But, he never shot anybody (after he got home) and he didn’t have KKK people knocking on his door either.

  10. crosspatch says:

    More info:

    Reed did declare he was carrying a handgun at McCarran, but it is still unclear how the bags managed to pass an inspection with prohibited items inside. The TSA said only that an investigation is underway.

    So that clears the weapon and ammunition and magazines, probably, assuming they were properly packed. Now the only thing left would be the detonator and fuses, maybe. I am assuming the model rocket engines were allowed, too.

  11. crosspatch says:

    I feel a disturbance in The Force, Luke … latest FBI most wanted is some kind of Berkeley animal rights terrorist. I thought only the “right-wing” was a danger?

  12. crosspatch says:

    From the Boston Globe

    Ann Davis – a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, the federal agency that oversees airport security – said Reed had declared the firearm in Las Vegas as required. Investigators had initially reported that he did not declare the gun, which was secured in a locked gun box, but later determined he had after locating the paperwork.

    So … a jump by the media to find a service member “victimized” by right-wing extremists falls flat? He was arraigned today, pleaded not guilty, and was released on bail.