Usually, the TSA is the Mickey Mouse operation, but this time they actually did catch a gun on its way aboard a plane. The gun appears to have been a .40 caliber EAA Witness, a mid-priced defense gun made by Tanfoglio in Italy and imported.
The gun was partly stuffed inside a stuffed Mickey Mouse. Specifically, the barrel and slide were inside Mickey, the receiver in a teddy bear, and the magazine and rounds inside a third, unspecified stuffed critter.
The initial story at the Providence Journal was a bit unclear as to how the event occured, and left many people wondering how it’s possible that, after interviewing the man whose young son had the three tooled-up toys, they let him and Junior board their scheduled human-mailing-tube from Providence to Detroit. Without the hardware, which was confiscated.
As several tipsters emailed us about the incident, we remembered the best rule for understanding the TSA: no employee of the TSA at any level is a good, decent, honest or moral human being. Still, it didn’t add up. Was it a red-team security test that the TSA passed? (That would be newsworthy in an of itself, as they usually don’t). Was the guy an ATF supervsor bringing the gun to a Mexican drug cartel boss? Or was someone trying to “set him up the bomb”?
Turns out, it appears to have been the last. As the story developed, it seems that the man was ensnared in a gnarly custody fight with his ex, who may have thought that having one parent up the river kind of defaults custody to the other. As the FBI and local and state police continue their investigation, she may just find out she’s right, just not in the way she expected.
The TSA is making a big deal out of this and claiming that the pistol pieces were “artfully concealed”, a term which has a specific meaning in the law (and “stuffed loose into Mickey Mouse” ain’t it). But they did catch the weapon, and it looks like they avoided a knee-jerk piling on the guy who appears at this time to have been an unknowing dupe.