Rama: Gun lost-A A +A
Sunday, July 15, 2012
RESPONSIBLE gun ownership teaches us to be conscientious in our handling of our firearms so as to insure that we do no harm.
But it doesn’t stop there. We are also enjoined to make sure that people we allow to touch our guns is similarly conscientious because, if harm does occur as a result of that other person’s incompetence, we are still responsible.
A friend of mine lost his gun to a burglar who broke into his house while he was not around and took a box of valuables. That box also contained his weapon, a Glock 9mm pistol.
He was damn near inconsolable afterwards; not so much because of the total value of what was lost but because of his fear that his weapon might be used to commit a crime.
So much so that when I was able to track the weapon down days later – coincidentally the thief tried to sell the gun to a journalist who then called me for advice—my friend actively participated in the police recovery operation.
He would later say that the night he got his gun back—and it was about the only thing he recovered from the burglary—was the night he had the best sleep of his life.
I was reminded of my friend’s harrowing experience because of an email a fellow
certified security professional working as consultant for the Aboitizes, Bingen Mendezona (firstname.lastname@example.org), sent me five days ago.
I’m writing about it because the whole episode could happen to anybody – sport shooters on their way to an out-of-town match or self protection-minded professionals who travel via airline with their firearms.
This is also for the benefit of airline executives and employees; so that they may know where people what people like Bingen go through when airlines misplace our highly valued checked-in cargo.
Myself, I’ve only flown once with a gun. Lucky enough, my gun and I arrived on the same flight; which is more than I can say for Bingen.
Bingen flew from Clark in Pampanga to Cebu last July 4. He travelled armed, as he usually does being a carry permit holder, but, in observance to airline regulations, checked his gun in through the airport police.
Upon arriving to Cebu, he got his baggage then went to the designated release area for carried firearms and waited. The procedure is for a designated airport policeman to claim the gun from the airline and turn it over to the gun-owner.
But, according to Bingen, no such policemen came because his gun, a Sig Sauer P220, the same gun Bingen was issued as a police officer in the US and which he paid to bring to Cebu as a memento, never got loaded off the aircraft. It was instead carried to where the plane flew to next.
“Anyway, I rush inside the baggage claim area and couldn’t locate a single AirPhil employee, so I asked the information booth ladies to contact AirPhil and advise them ASAP of my predicament. An AirPhil security guard showed up about 10 to 15 minutes later,” Bingen wrote.
“I told him my problem and he had no idea or suggestion on how to proceed with resolving the problem. He tried to call on his radio several times and it appeared no one was monitoring their radios. So, I asked him to take me to their office to talk to a supervisor, because by this time the flight had left,” he added.
“At the AirPhil office, several staff approached me and asked what the problem was and walked away... I had to help them think the process through of tracking the weapon...
I asked their Security in charge to write a report and start documenting the incident. I had to show him how,” he said.
Eventually, the firearm was returned. It was lost for all of eight hours. And what a harrowing eight hours it must have been.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 16, 2012.