“Powerful” 9mm

The BBC is even worse than our media, in this article on an airline losing Netanyahu’s security detail’s Glocks:

Port Authority police in New York are currently investigating whether the weapons went missing before or after the suitcase was transferred to LAX, NBC News has reported.

One source told NBC that the suitcase was inspected and cleared for shipment by Transportation Security Administration screeners who put a seal over the bag at Kennedy Airport.

The Glock 9mm is a powerful semi-automatic used by law enforcement and security organisations around the world.

Powerful compared to what? How is more powerful than any other 9mm pistol?

Also, I’ve always wondered by what legal exception foreign security are allowed to carry firearms in New York City? I know PA has no such exemption. I wonder if it’s a diplomatic immunity thing, or whether we just look the other way. Perhaps a federal law I am unaware of?

23 thoughts on ““Powerful” 9mm”

  1. There is nothing in the penal code about non-residents carrying firearms in New York. I would assume its under diplomatic immunity as NYC has had problems for years with diplomats ignoring NYC parking regulations.

  2. I know ATF has arrested UN body guards while off the UN compound for having unregistered MP5s that were imported under diplomatic seal, but that was an NFA/GCA violation.

  3. Ironic that Bloomberg doesn’t have them arrested. Any US citizen who travels through New York with a firearm in their luggage gets arrested, despite the protection of FOPA. I guess that’s only for the ‘little people’.

    Sebastian, I have to add, as much as I read, enjoy and comment on your blog, there does seem to be a bit of tilting at windmills lately. Calling a Glock 9mm ‘powerful’ hardly seems like the BBC is committing the anti-gun journalistic crime of the century. It’s actually the exact same word Glock use to describe their guns.


  4. This blog covers a very specific topic, for which the news isn’t always rich :) It’s very hard to find things to write about every day.

  5. Fair enough. I realize it’s a challenge to blog as much as you do. But it might have been more constructive to note the FOPA situation in New York airports than take a cheap shot at the BBC’s choice of words.

    I’ll keep reading and commenting. :)

  6. Feel free. If you have more interesting stories, send them along :) The other issue is I have to make a living too, so sometimes I hit and run a bit more because I’m busy with other things.

  7. The BBC used the headline “US airline ‘loses Netanyahu bodyguard guns'” for this story.

    I guess I was wrong to think that Israeli diplomats and dignitaries would always use El Al Israel Airlines for all of their travel needs. This is the airline which has had guns in the cockpit for about the last forty years from what I’ve been told. El Al Israel Airlines was named by Global Traveler magazine as the world’s most secure airline in 2008, by the way.

  8. I grew up in NYC. I would pretty much guarantee that it’s diplomatic immunity. Such things are common in NYC due to the presence of the UN. It usually is traffic ticket stuff- diplomats park where they want and generally disregard the traffic laws since they’re immune to prosecution. But I would imagine it also extends to the security details of visiting heads of state, etc.

  9. That’s kind of what I figured, Jim W. The immunity is pretty absolute. If the host country takes issue with the behavior you can declare them persona-non-grata, but that’s about it, unless the embassy waives the immunity.

  10. Next time, Netanyahu ought to just fly directly to DC from Israel on El Al and forgo using any of the US airlines. I was just told every El Al flight has armed plainclothes security inside the passenger cabin as well as the cockpit. Among other precautions, El Al “profiles” every passenger and requires them all to report three hours prior to departure. No wonder why El Al is the world’s most secure airline.

  11. “A Redrider BB gun is considered “powerful” by the media.”

    You’ll put your eye out!

    Somebody had to say it. ;)

  12. Blame “rogue” firearms dealers. But wait a minute, it was “rogue” baggage handlers at JFK! Where is the outrage and demand to license baggage handlers, restrict how many bags a handler can handle, mental health records checking of baggage handlers and close the airport loophole??? Don’t you know that you are 72x more likely to be killed with your own bag? If only we could ban all bags. What about the children? Where is Mayor Daley and Bloomberg when you need them???

  13. Also, Ash – look at those results from Glock’s website.

    .45 ACP.
    .45 GAP.
    10MM auto.

    They don’t call the 9mm pistols “powerful”, because they know they’re not going to fool prospective buyers.

    9mm Parabellum is perfectly adequate with modern expanding ammunition.

    But “powerful”? Not by any reasonable standard.

  14. Interesting subject. I’m not a leading expert on this topic, but it’s my understanding that full diplomatic immunity applies only to ambassadors and other senior foreign service officials. There are lesser levels of immunity, governed by the Vienna Convention. But none of the levels of immunity allows foreign nationals to illegally carry weapons in public with impunity. Even an ambassador can be detained and expelled if he’s caught outside the embassy with an Uzi.

    I think security personnel are basically tourists. In other words, they technically have no more legal immunity than you or I. So, this is all wink-wink stuff.

    I like the anecdote about the MP5s being imported “under diplomatic seal” into the UN building. That’s a gross abuse of the “diplomatic bag” provisions of the Vienna Convention, but I’m not familiar at all with the international agreements that govern our relations with the UN delegations.

    Excuse me now. I need to look for a job with the American consulate in Bali that allows me to bring my Glocks and my Citori and my AR with me. The Indonesian UN delegation probably has more serious weaponry than that in NYC, so their government should be OK with that, right?

  15. ALL you can do with someone who has diplomatic immunity is ask the entity that their immunity derives from to remove that immunity so you can arrest the guy, or failing that, you can PNG (declare them persona non grata) them and toss them out of your country, never to be permitted to return.

    The ambassador could gun down a busload of nuns on live TV, toss down the Uzi, and give the cops the finger as he casually strolled back to the embassy. (Theoretically, that is. . . NYPD would likely blow the guy away and claim they didn’t realize he had diplomatic immunity, or they thought he was turning with another gun towards them.)

    Now, the host nation DOES NOT have to recognize every guy in the mission as having full diplomatic immunity — that is settled by negotiation BEFORE the mission arrives. And they can change the rules, saying, “Well, we caught one of your guys with a dip passport spying, so we are PNG’ing him personally, and reducing the number of fully immune diplomats we recognize in your embassy by one.” But even changing the rules, the HOST nation cannot unilaterally refuse to honor diplomatic immunity they have agreed to recognize beyond declaring that person persona non grata.

    For people the host government has agreed to recognize partial immunity for, the cops can still arrest them for offences that fall outside the sphere of immunity. But technically, if the host government is agreeable, every single member of the mission could be given full imuunity, just like the embassador and other senior dips.

    Civilized nations will readily strip a real criminal of his immunity and hand him over to the host government if there is any expectation of a reasonably (in the eyes of teh “foreign” govenrment) fair trial and human punishment. If they are dealing with a country where they do not trust the host government’s justice system, they yank the guy themselves, and usually punish him at home for violations of THEIR laws. (Yes, most countries recognize certain laws that apply to their cictizens, even abroad. ESPECIALLY when you are abroad on official government business.)

    Interestingly enough, some UN officials have the equivalent of dip immunity through the UN, instead of or in addition to dip immunity from their home nation — makes sense, a guy from Buttcrakistan with a dip passport is still just the national of a Thrid World power that Third World powers in other regions can effectively ignore — but you start slapping around a UN official on UN papers and suddenly the Magic Foreign Aid Machine turns off. While the UN is not a sovereign entity, it will often predicate having it’s personnel and papers treated as if they were part of the foreign mission of a real country.

  16. So the TSA put a seal over the bag. As in a “Free Gun Inside” sticker? Because aren’t they not suppose to do that for the very reason that baggage handlers like to take advantage of such “Free Gun Inside” stickers?

  17. As others have mentioned, they are allowed to carry under the rubric of diplomatic immunity. Within our own State Department is the Diplomatic Security Service, they are full diplomats with black passports /and/ badge carrying Federal law enforcement officers, with all the legal authority that entails. The upshot is that they can carry pretty much anywhere they want, provided they aren’t drinking, including onto flights and in foreign countries. The DSS heads security at all Embassies (the Marine detail reports directly to the RSO, who is in DSS), as well as providing security details for important Americans overseas, the SecState even at home, as well as many foreign officials while traveling in the US. They also frequently provide security and (more commonly) training for high ranking officials in their home countries– a few years back, the President of Liberia’s personal detail was all American DSS officers. All of these privileges other countries extend to us, we generally extend to foreign personal security details while in country– although with close cooperation with assigned DSS officers.

  18. As noted, they probably have limited immunity. And while parking tickets won’t even get you pinged most times, there have been cases of fully-immune diplomats having that status revoked by their home country for the express purpose of being prosecuted by the host – though it usually takes a death, and even then some negotiation.

  19. When I saw the early stories stating that the baggage had simply been sent to the wrong place, I immediately concluded that some baggage handler had helped himself to the guns and dumped the luggage somewhere.

    Airline security in the baggage areas is a complete and total joke, and there’s little chance of things changing as long as the airlines are pinching pennies. Everyone should know at this point that anything valuable should never, ever be placed in checked luggage if at all possible, but sadly, guns must be checked.

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