Friday, February 10, 2017

The Good Old Days of Carrying Guns On Airplanes

Back in the 1960s it was not all that unusual for people going hunting to carry long guns in soft cases right into a plane. Hard cases hardly existed, except for some leather ones, because no one in his right mind would put a gun in checked luggage: too big a chance of damage. While few people could get a permit to carry a handgun in those days, those who had a revolver or pistol in their briefcase would never have been challenged, either, because no one looked. Or cared.

I remember as a kid going through General Mitchell Field in Milwaukee with my Dad and a pair of Browning A-5 semi-auto shotguns in soft cases. After checking in we went up the escalator to the concourse, where a couple very polite gentlemen in grey suits buttonholed us and asked if they could speak to us. Asked when our flight left, looked at our tickets, then sent us on our way with "Have a great hunt!"

We continued through the concourse and onto the plane. The very nice stewardess, knowing they would not fit in the overhead hat racks, took them and put them in the coat closet until we got off at the destination. We then walked off the plane and through the concourse with our shotguns. Repeat on return home, with dead ducks in our luggage.

It turned out that LBJ was coming in an hour or so after our plane departed. No sweat at all, which in retrospect is interesting, given how LBJ happened to be President in the first place.

My guess is that if we went back to that there would be surprisingly few incidents.

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