Police Officer Accidentally Boards Taiwan-Bound Flight With Gun & Six Rounds Of Ammunition

Filed Under: Security/TSA

I can’t decide which part of this story is more pathetic. A California policewoman is being held in Taiwan after accidentally carrying a gun and six rounds of ammunition on a flight from Los Angeles to Taipei on Wednesday. She only reported that she had the gun upon landing in Taiwan.

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Per Focus Taiwan:

The Aviation Police Bureau said the American police officer reported the matter to members of the airport’s ground staff after discovering the handgun and six rounds of ammunition in her carry-on bag.

The policewoman, identified as Nell Grant, handed over the pistol and ammunition and showed her badge as proof of her identity as a member of the California State Police, the authorities said.

Grant said she had forgotten to take the weapon out of her bag before boarding the plane in Los Angeles and added that she did not know why it had not been detected during her departure at the U.S. airport.

She was in transit to Thailand, though was told she needed to stay in the country until the investigation was complete. Apparently the maximum penalty for bringing unauthorized firearms to an airport is two years under Taiwan’s firearms control act. I suspect she won’t get the maximum sentence, though, given that she brought it to their attention, and it was an (extremely careless) “accident.”

I’m not really sure which part of the story is worse — that a police officer forgot she had a gun and six rounds of ammunition in her bag (is she not controlling her weapons more closely?), or that the TSA didn’t find it? Actually, I guess the former is definitely more surprising. The TSA has failed 95% of tests when it comes to detecting explosives and weapons at their checkpoints.

Yet somehow we’re only placing restrictions on flights from select countries to the US

(Tip of the hat to Lloyd)

  1. Although she brought it to their attention , authorities in some Asian countries do not have the same thought process on the law as we do. They may still prosecute to the full extent. I don’t agree with that but it’s more possible than if it happened in the US. Lucky she stopped in Tawain and not mainland China where This could have been taken much more seriously or in Thailand where she would definitely be off to the Bangkok Hilton.

  2. “Yet somehow we’re only placing restrictions on flights from select countries to the US…”
    Amen! I fail to see how US security is more effective than DXB, AUH, DOH, IST etc when we’ve seen extreme incompetence on the part of the TSA (not sure about the record of the company that does SFO security). Glass houses; stones…

  3. This is in fact worrisome. On the other hand, the Port Authority of New York seems to regularly arrest passengers who somehow brought their guns to New York (which are forbidden, btw) and then somehow want to take them on the plane as carry-ons. To which I might respectfully add: “WTF are these people thinking?”

  4. Not really shocking considering the type of candidate that California police agencies love to recruit, namely veterans. It’s as if knowing how to handle guns makes a person automatically more qualified to be a cop. The officer in this case may not be a vet, but it’s obvious that she let her firearms become so much an extension of her person that she’s unwittingly packing even when packing her carryon.

  5. I’d love to hear from an actual police officer of Sherriff’s deputy how common this is and what kind of storage and transport practices they and their colleagues carry out in general on a normal, day-to-day basis before all the fuckwit commenters in the same vein as @chancer chime in about cops and this becomes some political nonsense.

  6. She might not have gone through the regular TSA process. Law enforcement agents can go through a separate process which checks credentials and does not have scanning…

  7. @Droopy: While this may be true, the officer herself wondered why it had not been detected in LAX so presumably she went through some security that should have detected the weapon?

  8. @chancer What does being a veteran have anything to do with being incompetent with the handling of weapons? This is just a case of a person being a completely inept gun owner regardless of profession. If she “forgot” it was in her bag (which a terrible place for a concealed weapon), it makes me wonder how long it’s been sitting in her bag, and depending on where the bag was stored, who could’ve had access to the weapon. I just shake my head in disbelief.

  9. So all that work done by the TSA at checkpoint and they can’t even detect a gun with ammunition?

    Sounds about right…

  10. Apparently this happens all the time (people forgetting about their guns). I found a stat that in 2015, the TSA confiscated guns at checkpoints more than 200 times per week. Most or all of these were for people who forgot they had a gun in their carryon. It would not surprise me if at all if many guns slip through. If someone was travelling domestically and only noticed after the security checkpoint, they would probably keep quiet and hope for the best. It is highly unlikely they would be caught. The Taiwan woman got stuck because she needed to clear security twice on a trip.

  11. @AdamR – I was a full time (big city) municipal police officer for many years, before changing careers. Some departments require an officer to be armed at all times. Some officers are “gun nuts” and own lots of firearms. They may throw a gun in a bag to take to the gym/range/park/store/wherever and forget it is in a side pocket. They are human beings and make mistakes, in this case it could be a career ender. While most people may think it is unthinkable to “lose track” of a gun/ammo, it can and does happen frequently. On a personal note, I left a serrated folding knife (clearly a weapon for defense) in a bag pocket, and forgot it was in there. A month or so later it was detected at the airport x-ray machine. Fortunately it was before 9-11 and I just showed by police badge/ID and filled out a log and was sent on my way (with the knife)

  12. @ AdamR – Well you hit the nail on the head. You will hear, if anything, from this officer’s department nothing that questions the kind of hiring practices that recruits people who can’t remember to leave their firearms at home when the rest of us know we can’t even take a 4 oz bottle through security. Perhaps, as @Beans says, the officer is just completely inept. I’m suggesting that law enforcement agencies are too enamored with candidates trained in using guns. When self-defense skills are elevated as such, there will inevitably be more recruits for whom being constantly armed is second nature for them. If that’s political, so be it.

  13. In some countries certain drugs are legal.

    In some countries you’ll be in deep trouble with any kind of drugs.

    Better be more careful than this police officer..

  14. The “California State Police” ceased to exist in 1995 when it was merged into the California Highway Patrol.

  15. A real confidence booster of our TSA’s skills! She will need to stay in the country until the local prosecutor’s office makes a determination if formal charges will be brought against her. Even if charges are brought, it is probably unlikely that she will face any jail time given the “accidental” nature of the incident and the fact that she surrendered the firearm voluntarily. My guess is that she will get some kind of probation and be “expelled” from the country. AIT (the de-facto US consulate in Taiwan) has already retained counsel for her.

  16. @Chancer: As a veteran myself, I’m offended by your careless remark that somehow all veterans are incompetent to become California police officers and handle firearms. You have no clue if this woman is a veteran so your comment is without merit and completely insensitive to veterans who have served and continue to serve in law enforcement. Lol

    While she was careless for sure, it’s more maddening that the TSA didn’t catch it. We spend millions of tax dollars every year to fund the TSA and their track record is total shit!! I don’t feel any more safe today than before 9/11 with them as the supposed first line of defense in aviation security. It was a massive false sense of security to the American public. I highly doubt the TSA would have been any more effective on that day than the private security companies.

    In either situation, veterans don’t deserve to take the blame.

  17. Even for countries that strictly ban guns, there will alway be some policy that allow guns to be import/export(for officers and sport shooters, etc), they just need to let she redo some application to make it legal. Chinese people are known to be flexible. Especially since it’s Taiwan, She will not be held guilty most likely…It’s not North Korea, not Singapore.

  18. @Droopy- That is for domestic US flights only I believe. And you definitely can’t take your gun to another country!

    @Chancer- You are a complete idiot. This has nothing to do with veteran’s, while I agree they are privileged in many ways for government jobs, they are not selected only because they are familiar with guns, and most are NOT gun nuts.

    @AdamR- It is fairly common I believe. When I was in California, I would always check my car after going to the range for firearms. I regularly went to Mexico, where even one bullet will leave you in jail for a long time. SO I was careful. However, just in January I left a knife in one of my bags, and i took that bag with me to Europe. They caught it, and I had no idea I had it! Of course TSA didn’t find it, it was Canadian Security lol!

    Overall, this story is bad, the officer should definitely have realized they had their weapon. I always locked mine up before I went on travel internationally. The other crazy thing is that TSA didn’t find this. What a joke!

  19. Years ago my brother in law went through security about five times with a single bullet in his pocket. It got to the point security just waived him through. He came directly from work to see my sister off on a trip to Vegas with her girl friend’s. His service weapon was locked in the gun safe in his car. This would have been late 80’s.

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