Excuse me, is this your bag?

September 18, 2016

By Keffer Hirschauer LLP

When traveling to the airport, it can feel as though you need to remember a million things. Did you print the tickets? Have you left enough time to get checked in? Is it cheaper to get a ride to the airport or to leave your car in long-term parking? Did you pack the right clothes? The last thing some people remember to think about is their gun. But then it happens, and at the worst possible time: in the TSA security line. The TSA agent asks, “is this your bag?” And then it hits, “Oh no! I completely forgot to take my gun out of my bag!”

While forgetting a handgun seems like something that most people do not have to worry about, it is a far more common circumstance than most people would think. We are all human and, even the most experienced traveler, can find himself in an inadvertent and scary encounter with the TSA. So what happens next?

While investigations vary, based on the agency and agents involved (i.e., TSA, Homeland Security, or Airport Police), individuals who have inadvertently and accidentally brought their handgun into an airport can expect at least the following. The TSA agent will first confirm that the bag or parcel belongs to the traveler. After the firearm is secured, the traveler will be escorted back to a secured holding area; where the traveler will then be interviewed about the firearm and the circumstances surrounding the firearm being brought into the airport. Provided that the authorities are convinced that the firearm was brought into the airport accidentally, the individual may be released from the scene; however, it will be within law enforcement’s discretion to arrest the traveler outright.

At the very least, a traveler who forgets their handgun in their bag and takes it into the airport can expect to leave the airport with two things. The first is the federal equivalent of a ticket for bringing the firearm into the airport. This ticket will cost a traveler between $1,500 and $3,000. The second item is a summons to appear in court for the misdemeanor offense of Possession of a Firearm into a Restricted Area (commonly called: Bringing a Firearm into an Airport). But, don’t expect to the leave the airport with your firearm or your TSA Pre-Check card (for those frequent fliers).

Looking for an attorney who will help keep you flying? Contact us today if you have questions or believe your constitutional or criminal rights have been violated. We stand ready to provide our clients with trusted representation and accurate information regarding the law and its application to their individualized case. Act now and contact us today at (317) 857-0160.