What Happens If I Accidentally Bring A Gun To The Airport?
According to the United States Department of Homeland Security, Transportation and Security Administration (TSA), airport officials find a startling number of concealed firearms in airplane passengers’ carry-on bags and luggage. On any given week, TSA is likely to find dozens of firearms in carry-on baggage alone. Between October 5 and 12, 2012, TSA workers found 39 firearms in passenger carry-ons. 34 of these were loaded. Additionally, TSA discovered an assortment of knives, brass knuckles, stun guns, and other weapons. One passenger was found with a replica grenade. These statistics may seem frightening, but in reality many people bring knives, guns and other weapons to the airport without intending to. The TSA blog team frequently shares their weapons discoveries online. One blog post said the following:
- “Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions – that’s for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.”
In reality, the number of individuals who intend to bring guns into airports is much less than the number of items TSA discovers. Even still, these individuals may be accused of serious crimes.
What Is The Charge?
If you are found with a gun in your carry-on luggage, you could be charged any number of weapons charges. For instance, you could be accused of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. This crime is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $4,000 in fines. Additionally, you could be charged with carrying a concealed weapon in a restricted area (even if you have a permit). This is as Class B punishable by 180 days in jail and a fine of $2,000. More specifically, you could be charged with carrying a concealed firearm. This crime is a third-degree felony, punishable by two to 10 years of incarceration and a $10,000 fine. In order to be convicted of these crimes, the prosecution must demonstrate that you knew about the weapon and intended to bring them with you. In the case of an airport weapons violation, prosecution would have to demonstrate that you were aware of the weapon in your bag when you took it to the airport. In reality, it is entirely possible to accidentally carry a firearm through security. Unfortunately, this could lead to criminal conviction.
Legally Traveling With Firearms
Traveling with a firearm is not illegal. However, you must follow proper guidelines:
- You will not be allowed to travel with a firearm if you are traveling to or from a place that does not allow firearms.
- When you drive to and from the airport, your gun must be unreachable from the passenger area of the car and unloaded.
- The gun must be taken directly from your vehicle to the check-in desk.
- It must be unloaded and carried in a locked, hard-sided container.
- If the case is not completely secure, you will not be able to travel with the firearm. If the case is able to come open while locked, it will not be allowed. TSA has approved a variety of gun cases.
- Depending on the type of gun with which you are traveling, you may be allowed to travel with your firearm in a hard pistol case, a SKB multigun case, or a DLX single rifle case.
- Since your firearm must be unloaded during travel, the law requires that you keep your ammunition in a separate container. A cardboard, metal or wooden box designed to hold ammunition is acceptable.
- You must declare your gun and your ammunition when you check in.
Some airlines have different rules and regulations regarding firearms; make sure that you understand them and follow them correctly if you plan on checking a gun with your baggage. Call your airline to learn more!
Contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC, Today
Have you been charged with a serious crime because you accidentally left a firearm in your carry-on bag? At the Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC, we have helped clients who have been arrested for weapons offense. Mistakes happen. If you forgot to take a firearm out of your bag before going to the airport, a lawyer from our firm can give you the top-notch legal representation you need. In the past, we have helped clients facing the same charges – let us put our experience to work for you. Whether you’ve been accused of a Class A misdemeanor or a Class C felony, a lawyer from our firm has the know-how and practical experience to help you get the favorable case outcome you need. Contact us to see what a lawyer from the Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC, can do for you.