Fun and Sun, but No Guns Mon: Loaded Mag in a Bag Costs American $22 Gs

by Vern Evans
Marc Babin/Unsplash Photo

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A retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel traveling preparing to return from a visit in Grand Cayman was caught with a loaded magazine in his carry-on backpack as he passed through security at Owens Roberts International Airport on March 2. When discovered, the Cayman Compass reports Terry Torraca of Tennessee was questioned by police and apologized for the oversight, explaining he had placed it in the backpack while traveling in the states and didn’t realize it was still in there. He acknowledged that he “forgot to check the carry-on before traveling to Cayman.

The former officer was charged with two counts of possession of an unlicensed firearm, to which he pled guilty. But instead of past years when such a situation occurred, most violators paid a fine “with either a conditional or absolute discharge, meaning no conviction is recorded against them.” Under the previous magistrate, the newspaper reports, fines rarely exceeded $2,500 against tourists.

But Angelyn Hernandez is the chief magistrate now and she has been quite vocal about people coming to her island with firearms telling tourists it is their responsibility to know the laws and make sure they are not breaking them.

In Torraca’s case, she slapped the retired lieutenant colonel with a brutal $22,500 fine.

“Torraca’s substantially larger fine represents a drastic increase and shows the court’s displeasure against persons’ who through ignorance run afoul of Cayman’s laws,” the Cayman Compass reported.

While seemingly unfair, especially for what appears to be an honest mistake, “Section 15(5) of Firearms Act 2008 Revision sets out a fine of up to $100,000 and or 20 years in prison for a person who is convicted of possession of an unlicensed firearm. The law does not distinguish between a gun or bullets,” the article notes.

Whether traveling abroad or domestically, guns, ammunition and virtually all gun parts are not permitted in carry-on luggage and is something most airports and security personnel take super seriously, even when it is an obvious “oops.” To be safe, never fly with a backpack or other luggage you use for toting firearms or ammo to the range, when hunting or simply when traveling. Have a dedicated back just for carry-on purposes that you never use for anything firearms related.

With today’s plentiful pockets and compartments on backpacks and even in small suitcases, it’s easy to miss a knife, magazine, round of ammo or small box of ammo. It’s easier to simply avoid putting yourself in a situation by having a dedicated bag for air travel.

Perhaps of more concern, and not noted in the Cayman Compass story, was the fact that the mag, apparently did slip through a TSA checkpoint in the states when Torraca flew to Cayman. That’s an entirely different matter of concern…TSA!

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Read the full article here

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