Rifles photo

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For years now I’ve been flying out of JFK and LaGuardia with guns.

In all that time and God knows how many trips I’ve never been given a hard time by the airlines, or the cops, or the TSA. But checking a rifle through either airport adds another half-hour. And then you have the airlines’ whimsical way of shipping you to one destination and your gun to another.

So on two occasions this year, I’ve sent my rifle ahead. I stick it in a steel case and slide the case inside what is known as a ski-shipping box–a two-piece carton that adjusts for length. Then, I take it to a gun dealer and ask him to insure it heavily and give me the tracking number. All this is not cheap, but your rifle will…… get there (you can track its progress) for sure and the airlines will not get $25, and you will be spared whatever check-in idiocy the airports have in store.

There is a coda to this: When I got to the airport at Hays, Kansas, for my whitetail hunt I found that United had not been capable of getting my duffel bag from one airplane to another at Denver*. It came in on the next flight, four hours later, and the rancher who was putting me up had to drive 100 miles to get it. Better to ship your bag ahead, too. And stay off United if you possibly can. To paraphrase my old first sergeant, United would screw up a wet dream.

*This is the third time in the last several years United has done this. It doesn’t seem to bother them; in fact, some of their halfwits seem to find lost baggage amusing.