Rock guitarist Rick Derringer has told a US air marshal he keeps his gun with him on commercial flights up to 50 times a year, and was only detained in January near the end of a trip to Mexico.
Found with a loaded gun in his carry-on bag in Atlanta after stepping off a Delta Air Lines flight from Cancun, he now faces a criminal charge, court records show.
Derringer told the marshal that having his gun with him had never posed a problem until this year, when it was found at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on his return trip from Mexico.
“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,” according to the criminal complaint filed this week in US District Court in Atlanta.
He was charged this week with unlawfully entering the Atlanta airport’s secure area January 9.
The Kel-Tec pistol with six rounds of ammunition was found during a search of Derringer’s tan bag after his flight had landed in Atlanta, authorities said.
Since he had arrived on an international flight, he was being re-checked by security in order to continue on to Sarasota when the weapon was found, the court records indicate.
Derringer meant no harm and would work with the government to clear his name, his manager Kenn Moutenot said in a statement.
He thought he was permitted to have the gun because he had a licence to carry one, he said
Derringer sang the 1965 hit Hang on Sloopy with The McCoys and later recorded Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo