Accidentally Bringing a Firearm to the Airport

The only way to legally travel with a firearm on a commercial flight is to ensure it is properly packaged and declared at check-in with the airline. Although firearms can be transported in checked baggage, the firearm must be locked, unloaded, and packed in a hard-sided case. Ammunition must be packed separately.

So what happens if someone accidentally brings a firearm to the TSA’s security checkpoint at the airport before boarding a flight? Every year, people are arrested at Tampa International Airport for bringing a firearm to the airport. These incidents happen at airports throughout the United States daily.

In Florida, the crime might be charged as a second-degree misdemeanor if you have a concealed carry permit. With no permit, you might be charged with a third-degree felony for possession of a concealed firearm. Bringing a weapon other than a firearm might result in first-degree misdemeanor charges for carrying a concealed weapon.

Of course, the fact that you accidentally brought the firearm to the airport is a defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney could present evidence showing that you are “not guilty” of any crime if you did NOT realize that you were actually in possession of the firearm.

Attorney for Firearm Possession at the Airport in Florida

If you were accused of bringing a firearm or weapon to the airport, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. We can help you fight any criminal charge in court for possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon.

In addition to a possible criminal charge, the TSA might seek to impose civil penalties. The recommended penalties for accidentally bringing a firearm to the airport start at $2,050 for unloaded guns and $4,100 for loaded guns. The fines can increase to more than $10,000 per violation, depending on the circumstances. An attorney might be able to help you avoid the civil penalty.

Bringing a firearm to the airport might also result in the traveler having their “trusted traveler status” and TSA PreCheck benefits revoked. The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent clients on a wide variety of firearm charges, including brandishing a weapon or illegally possessing the weapon.

Call 813-250-0500.

Recent Rates of Firearm Detection at the Airport

Even as the number of passengers coming to the airport dropped in 2020, the number of firearms found in carry-on bags at the security checkpoint areas of the airport continues to rise. TSA screened 75% fewer passengers in July 2020 compared with July 2019. Nevertheless, the rate of detecting firearms is up significantly.

In July 2019, 5.1 firearms per million passengers screened were detected in 2019. In 2020, 15.3 firearms per million passengers screened were detected in 2020.

Nearly eighty percent of guns found by security in July 2019 were loaded. In July 2020, four firearms were located on passengers at the security checkpoint at the Tampa International Airport.

This article was last updated on Monday, January 8, 2024.