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Thread: Avoiding Range Time Before Flying?

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    Avoiding Range Time Before Flying?

    Hopefully this isn't a dumb question but I wonder about it every time I'm about to head off on a trip. Can spending time at the range (firearms, gunpowder residue and all that) cause potential problems with security screening involving trace-detection sampling? I haven't been able to find anything that indicates that folks have had problems because of spending time on the range prior to a trip, but then I haven't found anything to indicate that it shouldn't be a problem. I have found on a couple of sites references to having trace gunpowder residue on skin and clothing for 78 hours. But the not knowing keeps me from hitting the range when I have a series of back-to-back trips that leave only a couple of days in between so that I'm wondering if I'd then be heading to the airport with range residue on me. Anyone know about this being an actual problem?

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    Regular Member Resto Guy's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    A fellow member of a car forum that I frequent posted recently that he had to deal with this. He was ready to board a plane in Ohio and was checked positive for gun powder residue on his hands. He was pulled aside by TSA and asked to explain why. After he did, he was "allowed" to get on his flight.
    Four days prior, he and his son did some bird hunting with shot guns. He was shocked that numerous hand washings and four showers in the preceding days had not removed all traces of powder.
    Give it enough time, and I predict that every powder will be required to have a chemical signature that will I.D. the source. When that happens, they can see if your answer matches the one the scanner gives.
    Then I will feel so much safer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drdan01 View Post
    Hopefully this isn't a dumb question but I wonder about it every time I'm about to head off on a trip. Can spending time at the range (firearms, gunpowder residue and all that) cause potential problems with security screening involving trace-detection sampling? I haven't been able to find anything that indicates that folks have had problems because of spending time on the range prior to a trip, but then I haven't found anything to indicate that it shouldn't be a problem. I have found on a couple of sites references to having trace gunpowder residue on skin and clothing for 78 hours. But the not knowing keeps me from hitting the range when I have a series of back-to-back trips that leave only a couple of days in between so that I'm wondering if I'd then be heading to the airport with range residue on me. Anyone know about this being an actual problem?
    No idea...but I say we all show up after just coming back from the range. May have to get there a bit early.

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    I'm not authorized to give specifics but I can assure you that what your worried about is not a big deal. Even if you do somehow do something to get yourself ETDed, and manage to cause a hit, an alarm resolution almost never takes more than 10-15 min to complete.

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    Regular Member Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    I might even go out of my way to make sure I either go shooting before flying, or at least wear the same clothes that I wore to the range.

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    A TSO can process X number of passengers per hour. If there's 5 Pax in line or 5000 the TSO still only processes X number of passengers per hour.

    If I TSO is processing less than X then they're being underutilized anyway, no harm done. If TSO is already at X per hour and suddenly more people show up they're not likely to notice anyway. They're individual workload remains unchanged.

    While queue times may increase it won't have they effect your looking for. Longer wait times simply justify additional FTE and PTE so long as management can document that the FTE and PTE they already have are not being misallocated.

    This is documented by proving that the TSOs are processing X per hour like there suppose to be.

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    Regular Member DrakeZ07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrytired View Post
    A TSO can process X number of passengers per hour. If there's 5 Pax in line or 5000 the TSO still only processes X number of passengers per hour.

    If I TSO is processing less than X then they're being underutilized anyway, no harm done. If TSO is already at X per hour and suddenly more people show up they're not likely to notice anyway. They're individual workload remains unchanged.

    While queue times may increase it won't have they effect your looking for. Longer wait times simply justify additional FTE and PTE so long as management can document that the FTE and PTE they already have are not being misallocated.

    This is documented by proving that the TSOs are processing X per hour like there suppose to be.
    I have no idea what you just said, so I'm going to nod my head slowly and continue.

    A friend of mine flew down to visit me for about a week last April for knob creek. He fired a few belts from the MG rental, then we went home, and the morning before he was supposed to fly out that afternoon, we went to a range and few a good amount of rounds down on target.

    He boarded his plane at Lexington-Bluegrass airport, had a stop over in NC, and then finally arrived in Providence, RI. To top it off, he had worn full BDU Jungle camo, and black combat boots, the same outfit he wore when we went to knob creek, and to the range before he left; and yet he had no problems at all from TSA or LEO's, aside from the random cop saying it was illegal for him to wear camo jacket, camo pants, and combat boots together, and him brushing it off, since he didn't have any patches or military marking. Other then that, he wasn't pulled to the side and screened or anything.

    I'm pretty sure if the GSR and the full camo outfit would have bothered the TSA, he would have missed a few flights and been dragged away, but he i reckon he was just lucky.
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    Regular Member TechnoWeenie's Avatar
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    When I flew, I intentionally used my range bag as my carry on.. I also intentionally carried disposable 'questionable' items.. like a pen filed down to a point (to clean underneath my fingernails, of course).... I also had one of my LED flashlights with a crenulated bezel.. Anyone know what the crenulated bezel is for? It's a weapon mounted light.. It's designed so that you can use it to crush someones skull in close quarters with one good wack.. that went right through as well...



    After going through multiple airports (layovers) with no problems, I finally had one TSA agent question me about a 'suspicious item'...

    It was the antenna for the 2-way radio I was carrying - which was attached to the radio...

    Last edited by TechnoWeenie; 02-14-2012 at 02:49 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrytired View Post
    I'm not authorized to give specifics but I can assure you that what your worried about is not a big deal. Even if you do somehow do something to get yourself ETDed, and manage to cause a hit, an alarm resolution almost never takes more than 10-15 min to complete.
    Unfortunately then it sounds like it is a problem though based on your above and other posts of actual problems. To me it's not a question of it being a big deal, but whether it is any kind of a deal. In situations where you can often find yourself with as little as less than an hour scheduled between a flight and with actual time between often being much less (flight late arriving, heavy traffic, etc.) any additional delays in already long lines could mean that I miss my flight.

    So I guess that I'm going to have to continue to skip range time when I've got upcoming trips.

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    The obvious solution is to always bring a gun along to check in with your bag, then there's no question about why the chemical scanner triggers =)

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    Regular Member yz9890's Avatar
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    look the blue shirt mall cop in the eye and tell him you poor cordite on your Cheerios. I deal with these jokers a dozen times a week and I absolutely hate them.

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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resto Guy View Post
    A fellow member of a car forum that I frequent posted recently that he had to deal with this. He was ready to board a plane in Ohio and was checked positive for gun powder residue on his hands. He was pulled aside by TSA and asked to explain why. After he did, he was "allowed" to get on his flight.
    Four days prior, he and his son did some bird hunting with shot guns. He was shocked that numerous hand washings and four showers in the preceding days had not removed all traces of powder.
    Give it enough time, and I predict that every powder will be required to have a chemical signature that will I.D. the source. When that happens, they can see if your answer matches the one the scanner gives.
    Then I will feel so much safer.
    "I'm sorry mister/miss TSA nitwit, may I have your name and your supervisor's name? For legal purposes of course. Thank you, now, have you discovered a prohibited item on my person or my carry-on bags?....?....?....no? Then why are you keeping me from my flight?
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    Regular Member HeroHog's Avatar
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    The last time I flew, I used my range bag as my carry on bag and literally dumped out all the fired brass from it before stuffing my clothes, etc. in it and watched them swab it. As he swabbed and tested it I asked if that was going to be an issue and he replied in the negative and sure enough, I was allowed on through.

    Side note: I am ALWAYS "randomly selected" for the full search when boarding a plane and this day was no exception! I guess having been an FFL and holding CHPs in 4 states gets ya on "that list"...
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    Regular Member Mas49.56's Avatar
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    Gun powder is NOT what the little cloth patch is checking for. You will be fine.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HeroHog View Post
    Side note: I am ALWAYS "randomly selected" for the full search when boarding a plane and this day was no exception! I guess having been an FFL and holding CHPs in 4 states gets ya on "that list"...
    There are many reasons why you particularly are on a number of lists, and the ones you suggest are not among those reasons. I'd spell them out for you here, but the last time I did that you asked me not to mention them in public again.

    And for everybody else - if you are not on at least one list, why not? Quit slacking!

    stay safe.
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    And so here I sit at the gate waiting for my flight, having just been through my first ever random screening. It was triggered by random count through the metal detector and they simply pulled one carry on for swabbing. I'd be paranoid what with nobody else going through security at the same time but it did seem to be random as it beeped after I'd already cleared. But kind of ironic that as a Platinum flyer all these years have never been through an additional screening until now.

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