Rock Guitarist Derringer Charged With Carrying Gun On Flight

Open Jaw

The aptly-named rock guitarist Rick Derringer has been charged with carrying a loaded gun on a flight.

Derringer, who scored a no 1 hit in the 1960s, told an air marshal he thought it was allowed to carry a loaded gun onboard a commercial flight. In potentially more disturbing news, he told investigators he carries a loaded weapon on flights 30-50 times a year.

Derringer had taken a Kel-Tec pistol loaded with six rounds of ammunition through security at CUN undetected, and it was only discovered after another screening during transit in ATL.

"Derringer explained that he was aware that his pistol was in his carry-on bag but he thought that it was acceptable to carry a pistol on an airplane," said a complaint filed in US District Court in Atlanta.

Derringer was charged with unlawfully entering an airport's secure area. The incident has sparked investigations spanning two countries.

The guitarist who played on hit songs including Hang On Sloopy and Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo took the gun through screening undetected at SRQ on his outbound journey and again passed through security at CUN on his way back to the U.S.

"The person who missed this in the screening was terminated," said Rick Piccolo, president and CEO of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. 

"This is one where it got through, and the person did not do what they're supposed to do or trained to do. Unfortunately, in this business, you have to be right 100% of the time."

Guns are not allowed in carry-on bags at Mexican airports either, said Adolfo Castro, director of Cancun Airport operator Grupo Aeropuertos del Sureste, who has promised an investigation.

Responding to Derringer's claims he regularly takes a gun aboard flights, TSA spokesman Mark Howell said: "While we take these claims very seriously and review them closely when possible, there is no way to substantiate the passenger's claims after a prolonged period of time,"

The term derringer is a genericized misspelling of the last name of Henry Deringer, a famous 19th-century maker of small pocket pistols. Rick Derringer was actually born Ricky Dean Zehringer. 

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