crime

U.S. Air Force fireman arrested for gun possession at Narita Airport

48 Comments

Chiba prefectural police at Narita International Airport have arrested a 43-year-old American man who works as a firefighter for the U.S. Air Force at the Kadena base in Okinawa on suspicion of violating the Firearms and Sword Control Law after a handgun loaded with bullets was discovered in his luggage. 

According to police, Michael Applegate was apprehended at Narita International Airport’s Terminal 1 at around 5:50 p.m. on Tuesday. He had just arrived from the U.S. and was in transit on his way to board a domestic flight to Okinawa.

Police said a loaded pistol and magazine clip with 14 bullets were found after a security check was conducted on the suspect’s suitcase.

Police said Applegate has admitted the gun is his and quoted him as saying that “it might have gotten mixed up with my other belongings when I quickly packed my bags.”

© Japan Today

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48 Comments
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30 years in jail minimum.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Moron

10 ( +14 / -4 )

I wonder where he was intending to hijack the plane to.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

How the hell did he get through US security when boarding the plane?

17 ( +17 / -0 )

How the hell did he get through US security when boarding the plane?

I think those too frightened by existence to live without their guns are allowed to pack their weapons in their checked-in bags.

You may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only. Declare the firearm and/or ammunition to the airline when checkingyour bag at the ticket counter. The container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be easily opened are not permitted.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/transporting-firearms-and-ammunition

According to the above, the airlines should have been informed. Lock him up! Send him back!

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Scary to think someone had a loaded gun on the plane. 

It seems it was in a checked suitcase. He would not have had access to the gun during the flight.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

It seems it was in a checked suitcase. He would not have had access to the gun during the flight.

Ahh, so he was only walking around the terminals before check-in with a loaded weapon.

Good to know he didn't have as much opportunity to shoot people as I had been thinking he had.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Packing his bags in a rush, he packed something he did not intend to. Could have happened to anyone. There is a lesson in this for all of us.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

Packing his bags in a rush, he packed something he did not intend to. Could have happened to anyone.

Not me. I could not be caught with a gun in my luggage. Well, unless someone planted one on me.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Packing his bags in a rush, he packed something he did not intend to.

Or just as likely thought he could get away with. If it was just a whoops I forgot, it would be yet one more example of a careless gun owner. I wonder if he's an NRA member.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I don't buy this excuse of packing his bags in a hurry bollocks. I have several Pelican 1650 cases that I use for work and travel and you can be sure that I damn well make sure that I remove EVERYTHING first and then pack in item by item to make sure I don't accidentally take something with me like a screw driver which wouldn't be at all illegal in a checked in bag but silly to have along with you on holidays. Also, being safe to make sure that I don't put another legal to have but not to check in would be Li-ion battery packs for tools or cameras.

Oh and a gun is just a little more of an issue when you're heading to a country that has VERY strict gun laws.

So lax are these gun owners that it makes me worry for our safety.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I would have accepted the excuse if it was in a hand carry luggage like backpacks or suitcases but for a luggage that needs to be packed gives little chance to have accidentally be left in.

Having said that does the whole world really need to know that this happened?

On side note this is how effective TSA is.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I meant briefcase instead of suitcase.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He’ll have plenty of time to think about it in the brig.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

When I had my Fuji Hiking Staff taken away from me and shackled...I was super scared because they told me it was a weapon. (Kendo). I would hate to be caught with a gun.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A similar case happened back in January, so a big shout out to Delta Air Lines and United States Transportation Security Administration check in staff from potential terrorist everywhere! In her case, it was a mistake, she reported it immediately, but she was still denied entry into Japan and sent straight back.

https://simpleflying.com/delta-flight-gun/

Strange that the report says it was loaded, which is hugely irresponsible. US Airlines generally demand that any firearms must be, unloaded and in a locked, hard-sided container, where the firearm is totally inaccessible. It's not beyond imagination that it could have been accidentally fired while being moved around.

What's the US military's position on private fire arms in Japan? I would have thought they were a no-no.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Just a guess here, but I suspect he was on a domestic flight first, and checked his bags thru.  Small heartland airports are not as careful when scanning baggage.  I can see it as having been an honest mistake.  After all, it was loaded - suggesting that he wasn't as careful with it as he should have been.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

US security seems more careful for arrival passengers but less careful for departure passengers. Maybe tight security is a pain in ass there.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Yeah, I’m also not sure how he was able to get in the plane with a loaded pistol in his kit. To me, that is a more serious offense that needs to be investigated.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

So the baggage was not scanned at the departure gateway as well? Someone definitely slipped up and this needs investigation - a loaded handgun!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Airport security are not very vigilant when someone leaves a country. I once called the security at Heathrow airport to ask about how much alcohol I could take out of the country, they said, we're not concerned what you take out, our concern is what you bring in

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Accidents happen. Forgiven.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

The only possible way I can see this happening is if the suitcase is one he doesn't normally travel, via airline flights, with. Earlier this year I almost traveled with a six inch blade in the bag I was planning on using as a carry on simply because it isn't a bag I ever traveled with.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If you don't fly commercial as much as you fly military or private, it is easy to get complacent packing anything you want in your luggage.

I've done it, never a firearm, but water, tiny knives, a multi-tool, stuff like that. Used to fly on a private plane a few times a week for the company. I would pack my stuff for the day trip, including any tools needed, and go. Arrive at the hangar within 5 minutes of the takeoff time and do the "OJ run" to the plane waving my badge at the counter.

The next few times flying commercial was a total shock. The TSA was never amused.

Regardless, Japan has firearm laws that must be respected. Throw the book at him.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I recall the circumstances of the Lod Airport Massacre. The offenders had packed guns in their checked baggage and after disembarking opened their bags, retrieved the weapons, and opened fire in the baggage collection area.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It would certainly bother me that someone who shouldn't have a loaded gun was on a plane with me. My only reassurance is the hope that an Air Marshall with a loaded gun is on the same plane with me.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yes I’ve seen people check in guns on planes before, and it really bothers me. I don’t want any guns on the plane at all.

Why? What will the gun do while unloaded and locked in a box, inaccessible in the belly of the plane? Are you really that frightened of an inanimate object?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Darwin I think another one is on the way.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some people in America take a cheap "starter gun" (like for races) when they travel using an approved case. They do this to ensure nobody opens the bag from the time they check the bag until they retrieve it. No ammunition, just the firearm to get the TSA metal

https://travel-tips.wonderhowto.com/how-to/protect-your-luggage-by-flying-with-gun-legally-0138185/

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I once had a pocket knife in my backpack that I forgot about in Indonesia. I left Japan, no problem. I entered Indonesia for a month and then left. No problem. On my way back to Japan I transfer in Malaysia and they find the pocket knife and I honestly didn’t know it was in there. They questioned me for 30 minutes and then confiscated the knife and let me go. I’d hate to think what would have happened if it was a gun.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yes I’ve seen people check in guns on planes before, and it really bothers me. I don’t want any guns on the plane at all.

Why? What will the gun do while unloaded and locked in a box, inaccessible in the belly of the plane? Are you really that frightened of an inanimate object?

First of all its not necessary, secondly I do not want to fly with an imbecile who is dumb enough to travel with a gun

2 ( +4 / -2 )

He had just arrived from the U.S. and was in transit on his way to board a domestic flight to Okinawa.

Therein lies the issue - what's legal in one country is completely unacceptable in another. In fact, it's perfectly legal in the US to transport in checked-in luggage both a firearm and munition; however, it is not permitted to have a loaded firearm as described in this article. https://www.tsa.gov/travel/transporting-firearms-and-ammunition . Nonetheless, the onus is on the passenger to ensure they weren't reckless with handling their firearm.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

 What will the gun do while unloaded and locked in a box, inaccessible in the belly of the plane? Are you really that frightened of an inanimate object?

What bothers me is not the firearm unloaded and locked in a box in the belly of a plane: it's the loon who's going to be walking around the same space as me after landing - a loon who either doesn't know where his supposedly secure weapon is, or who thinks the laws of the country don't apply to him like they apply to everybody else.

No excuse - send him back. We don't need or want his type here.

Invalid CSRF

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Jail him! its illegal to import weapons to Japan:

I bet it was for profit too .. so no less than 5 years to life please:

Any person who illegally imports firearms is punishable by penal servitude for not less than three years. Any person who imports firearms in order to make a profit is subject to penal servitude for a term ranging from not less than five years to life and a fine not to exceed 30 million yen (about US$340,000).[101] Any person who transfers, lends, or borrows handguns is subject to penal servitude for one year or more, but not to exceed ten years. Any person who commits these crimes in order to make a profit is punishable by penal servitude for not less than three years and a fine not to exceed 10 million yen (about US$113,000).[102]

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

How the hell did he get through US security when boarding the plane?

Have you ever read any of the reports of the 'penetration tests' they do from time to time at airports in the U.S.? For effectiveness, they, TSA, are on a par with the "magic bullet-proof T-shirt" child soldiers in Africa are given and as long as they have 'faith' in the shirt, they will be safe. But should that faith fail, well..., and if it does, it was the wearer not the T-shirt. As long as no one tries to bring bad things, Americans are 'safe'. But forced to deal with otherwise powerless people who have been given that little baton of power... A few don't handle it well and many seem more ru...curt than necessary. How have our leaders driven us into such idiotic behaviors? Maybe they're sitting in their orifices laughing to gagging about what they can get us to do or suffer through. Anyway, I think Seoul Airport handles this sort of thing much more tactfully and understandingly than Narita or at least they did with me and my forgotten 9mm ammo. On the way OUT. Thanks, TSA. Glad ya caught that when I left the U.S.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And how he past the american airport check?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Strangerland

I wonder where he was intending to hijack the plane to.

With a gun in a container in the cargo department? Brillant plan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

With a gun in a container in the cargo department? Brillant plan.

Don't try to use logic or reason. To the folks commenting about it, guns can kill you while unloaded in a box and every person who owns a gun is an imbecilic terrorist hell bent on shooting up an airport. It must be hard to go through life so frightened.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

No excuse, no clarification how it happen, just apply the Law as required

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think those too frightened by existence to live without their guns are allowed to pack their weapons in their checked-in bags.

Probably he's not too frightened to live without his gun, he is just one of many who choose to have one.

He erred in packing it in his luggage for a commercial flight to Japan and must be punished for that.

But no, we're not going to give up our guns and become a disarmed populace like you guys have done.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

But no, we're not going to give up our guns and become a disarmed populace like you guys have done.

As long as you live in Japan, you'll not be carrying a gun around.

We don't need the gun disease here, thanks.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It must be hard to go through life so frightened.

That's how I feel about people who think they need guns. Must suck to be so afraid for your life all the time that you need to carry a deadly weapon.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

We don't need the gun disease here, thanks.

It's not a disease, it's a right that people in many countries have.

Must suck to be so afraid for your life all the time that you need to carry a deadly weapon.

Must suck to not be allowed to own a gun whilst your government and your criminals have them.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

It's not a disease, it's a right that people in many countries have.

Not in any of the countries I've lived in and certainly not the crazed extent that permeates the US. We don't need it here in Japan.

Anyone caught carrying a gun like this eejit should be deported.

Must suck to not be allowed to own a gun whilst your government and your criminals have them.

I'll gladly take my chances, thanks. I'd rather not live in fear, as you must do, here in Japan without a weapon.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Must suck to not be allowed to own a gun whilst your government and your criminals have them.

That's the thing - even the criminals don't have guns here. I mean yeah, sure, they do exist. But let's do a straight up numbers game.

Number of deaths by firearm in the US (per 100,000): 19.51

Number of deaths by firearm in Japan (per 100,000):

0.06

I literally, and I mean literally in the literal sense of the word, I literally have zero thoughts of guns in Japan. I never, ever look at someone and wonder if they have a gun. It's a complete and utter non-issue. It's not even a thought that I push aside, it's one that never even comes up.

Because it doesn't need to. Anyone whose ever studied higher level maths will know that when an equation approaches zero, but will never get there, it can at some point be considered effectively 'zero'. That's how it is with firearms in Japan. Sure, they exist. But in all reality, no they don't. They are a complete and utter non-issue.

So, to respond to your comment, no, not only does it not suck living at all living in this environment, it's actually really, really awesome. You know, not worrying about getting shot when going to work, or the supermarket, or taking out the trash etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Must suck to not be allowed to own a gun whilst your government and your criminals have them.

American are born to mistrust their government and thus the 2nd amendment. Must terrible to live in a country where the mistrust of the government requires its citizens to be armed. Sounds more like Venezuela than the land of the free and home of the brave.

You also have no guns while living in Japan, so why live in a country which denies your gun rights. Guess in the end its not really that important.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Found in his Luggage - if hand-luggage, then clearly there's a big problem, if in his checked in luggage, then that's another matter, and I think his explanation would hold true (given what's presented to us in this news-story). International flights from the US should, be scanning luggage (even if from connections) for items that may cause issues.... clearly in this case, they may not have. Which is worrying...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A inactive missile launcher found in checked luggage by the TSA - https://www.secretflying.com/posts/missile-launcher-found-in-texas-mans-luggage-at-airport/

The active military person was bringing it home as a souvenir from Kuwait.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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