Guitarist and singer Rick Derringer has worked with Steely Dan and Weird Al. He’s a Grammy winner, and sang the 1964 number one hit “Hang on Sloopy” by The McCoys. He wrote the wrestling entrance song Hulk Hogan.
But perhaps he’ll now be best remembered for getting caught traveling with a firearm as Jeff Martin reports, and asking: Was that wrong? I do it all the time and nobody told me.
Rock guitarist Rick Derringer told a federal air marshal that he keeps his gun with him on commercial airline flights 30 to 50 times a year, and was only detained last month at Atlanta’s airport near the end of a trip to Mexico, authorities said.
Found with a loaded gun in his carry-on bag after stepping off a Delta Air Lines flight from Cancun, Mexico, he now faces a criminal charge in Atlanta, court records show.
He claims a gun in his carry on “has never posed a problem” which makes sense since the TSA misses most contraband sent through the checkpoint.
However he didn’t just think he was getting away with it, “he thought that it was acceptable to carry a pistol on an airplane.”
Derringer was carrying:
- A Kel-Tec pistol with six rounds of ammunition
- A separate gun clip with six rounds
He had flown internationally with his gun, which he thought he was allowed to do because of his Florida gun permit. He was connecting in Atlanta to Sarasota and going through security there where his gun clip (but not the gun itself, apparently) was caught by crack TSA agents manning the x-ray.
The gun clip was only enough to get Derringer’s carry on bag re-screened. They again saw the clip and ammo. Law enforcement responded, and only then was the loaded gun discovered.
Since he flew out of the Sarasota airport, and says he did so with his gun, the airport says the screener who cleared his bag has been found and fired. That’s only possible because there are private screeners in Sarasota. Actual employees of the TSA have been accused of misconduct over 20,000 times, about half of the employees more than once and generally little discipline occurs.