Until recently, there were countless individuals being arrested and charged with felonies for having a gun or illegal knife on them when they attempted to go through the screening checkpoint at DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field. So much so I devoted an entire page on my website to these types of cases. The law used to state that a person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses or goes with a firearm, illegal knife, club, or prohibited weapon in or into a secured area of an airport.
I helped contribute to a story in the New York Time in 2015 titled “Packing Heat at the Airport? Oops!” -By Kate Murphy. The story focused largely on the high number of people who simply forget they have a weapon on them when they go through airport security.
A new law took effect on January 1, 2016. You no longer need to conceal a gun. You can openly carry a handgun under the new provisions of the License to Carry (LTC) program (formerly Concealed Handgun Licensing). Furthermore, there have been some law changes, giving a defense to an LTC holder who accidentally goes through airport security.
How can a person forget they have a gun in their possession? Trust me, it happens. And when it does, your heart will drop when you realize what you have done. I am a supporter of the new license to carry laws here in Texas. I personally think more of us should take advantage of the wonderful privilege we have in this state. However, I have noticed that some people with an LTC have a tendency to become complacent with the passage of time. You become so accustomed to carrying your weapon you forget you have it.
And if you are a frequent traveler, you become so accustomed to going through airport security, you hardly even think about it. And that’s when it happens. A person who has worked hard all their life, gone through a rigorous background check just to apply for their license, is now arrested, jailed and facing a felony charge. Please contact me as soon as possible to discuss your case. It’s important to take a proactive role with the District Attorney as soon as possible.
What does this mean for individuals that forget their weapon while going through airport security? As long as you can show the officer your LTC, the officer may not arrest you. The only way the officer can arrest you is if the officer gives you an opportunity to leave the screening checkpoint and you do not immediately exit. However, in Texas, you are still allowed to carry a weapon in your vehicle, even without an LTC. The leniency the law now allows for LTC owners when they make a mistake at the airport will and does not apply to someone who has not taken the opportunity to obtain their LTC permit. It also does not apply to LTC holders who forget they have a weapon on them when they go to other places where you are prohibited from carrying a handgun, like at a school or a bar.
Although the law seems to have loosened up, those that have obtained an LTC should still be mindful of when and where they carry. Furthermore, it is also worth mentioning that both LTC holders and non-holders can be fined thousands of dollars civilly by TSA for carrying a weapon into the airport. If you have been arrested for any gun charge or weapons charge, please contact me as soon as possible.
Call Fort Worth criminal attorney Stephen Handy today at 817.284.2262, if you have been accused of Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon or Places Weapons Prohibited. He offers one-on-one, vigorous representation for Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon or Places Weapons Prohibited charges in Tarrant County and all surrounding areas.