gunTaking a Weapon through Airport Security: Prohibited Weapons in Texas

It seems like I am seeing more and more people arrested at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field for having a gun or knife on them when they attempt to go through the screening at the airport. The law states that a person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses or goes with a firearm, “location restricted knife”, club, or prohibited weapon in or into a secured area of an airport.

With the new heightened standards for airport security, if you forget your handgun or knife was in your purse or bag when you go though security, you will likely be arrested and charged with the felony offense of Unlawful Carrying a Weapon Places Weapons Prohibited.

The good news for you is that accidents are still accidents and not crimes. Even though the State will not be required to prove you intended to bring the weapon into the secured area, they will have to prove that your actions in doing so where so reckless that you must be held criminally responsible.  Twenty years ago, security officers and the airport police departments were allowed to use their judgment when deciding if it was an accident or it was the specific intent of a person to take a gun into the airport. That discretion is long gone.

However there is one primary exception for License to Carry holders.  There have been so many arrest of license to carry holders who have inadvertently taken a weapon thru the screening process into the secured area of the airport that the Texas legislature has now allowed for a specific defense for the license to carry holders only.  The defense states that the person shall not be arrested if the person possessed at the screening checkpoint for the secured area, a concealed handgun that the actor was licensed to carry under Sub-chapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code and exited the screening checkpoint for the secured area immediately upon completion of the required screening process and notification that the actor possessed the handgun. This law is providing a specific defense for license to carry holders only who simply forget they have their handgun with them.  The law does not allow license to carry holders to intentionally take a handgun into the secured area of the airport, but allows them the opportunity to exit the premise of the secured area as soon as they are notified of the weapon by 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 license to carry law. 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 a license to carry have a tendency to become complacent with the passage of time. You become so accustom to carrying your weapon you forget you have it.  Furthermore, Texas state law does not require a person to possess a license to carry to have a handgun in his possession as long as that person is on the person’s own premise or premise under the persons control or inside of or directly en route to a vehicle that is owned by the person or under the person’s control.  With the ability in Texas to have and possess weapons so easily, it is not uncommon for people to be very comfortable with weapons even though those individuals have not chosen to obtain their license to carry.

If you are a frequent traveler, you become so accustom to going through airport security, you hardly even think about it. If you are comfortable around weapons you are more likely as well to become somewhat complacent with the weapons. 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.

Weapons Texas considers a prohibited weapon: Pen 46.05

In Texas, there are numerous prohibited weapons and firearm charges that can result in prosecution including the following:

  • An explosive weapon
  • A machine gun
  • Short-barrel firearm
  • Knuckles
  • Armor-piercing ammunition
  •  Zipgun
  • Tire deflation device
  • Improved explosive device
  • Firearm silencer

People who often carry weapons or knifes need to be extremely careful when and where they carry. I have had numerous clients that have inadvertently carried their handgun in a place where it is prohibited – school, courthouse, polling place, and the airport. These offenses can carry serious penalties and repercussions. 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) 284-2263, if you have been arrested at the airport or have been charged with any prohibited weapon offense. He offers one-on-one, vigorous representation for violation of all weapons charges in Tarrant County and all surrounding areas.

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