I've flown numerous times around the country (mainly to/from Hawaii) and internationally (Japan, Canada, and Mexico just in the last 3 years) and I've flown with signficant amount of camera gear (1 body, 5 lenses, flash, filters, batteries, chargers, netbook, etc). For the most part once you send your stuff through the x-ray, they'll pull you and your bag to the side so they can visually check it and wipe it down a few times with some little circular white paper which they put into a machine. I asked once what they were checking for and the TSA agent told me the machine was looking for traces of explosives. The whole process is pretty fast (a couple of mins). It used to take longer when I used to shoot with film because they would check every film canister (at my request because I didn't want to send film through the xray even if they say it's safe for film ISO 800 and under).
So really, I wouldn't worry about leaving gear behind just to speed up the screening process. It's painless.