The holiday season is on the horizon, and folks are
making travel plans. If your plans include air travel, the
following is intended to be a short refresher course on the laws
concerning air travel with a firearm.
A good friend
and former student sent me the following:
Mike, my friend, who is an Airport Police officer,
keeps telling me about how many people he has to arrest at the gate for
trying to board a plane with a forgotten gun in carry-on luggage or a
purse or backpack.
This week it was 4 in 5 days - a
357, two 380's and a derringer. They [travelers] were male and female ranging
in age from 29 to 72.
Missing their flight is just the
beginning of their troubles. First, they get a trip to county jail
to meet the local gang members. Then there's the 3rd degree felony
with [possible penalties] up to 10 years and $10k fine.
OK, folks, here it is again:
About Texas Airports:
TEXAS PENAL CODE
TITLE 10. OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, AND MORALS
CHAPTER 46. WEAPONS
Sec. 46.03. PLACES WEAPONS PROHIBITED.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person
intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses or goes with a
firearm, illegal knife, club, or prohibited weapon listed in
... (5) in or into a secured area of an
... (c) In this section:
... (2) "Secured area" means an area of
an airport terminal building to which access is controlled
by the inspection of persons and property under federal law.
... (e) It is a defense to prosecution under
Subsection (a)(5) that the actor checked all firearms as baggage
in accordance with federal or state law or regulations before
entering a secured area.
(f) It is not a
defense to prosecution under this section that the actor
possessed a handgun and was licensed to carry a concealed
handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code.
(g) An offense under this section is a third degree felony.
About airline travel with a firearm (Source:
U.S. Transportation Security Administration)
Firearms, ammunition, firearm parts, and
realistic replicas of firearms are prohibited in carry-on baggage.
Subject to certain restrictions, you may transport these items in
your checked baggage.
As part of the check-in
process, all firearms and firearm parts must be declared to the
aircraft operator. Firearms and firearm parts may be permitted in
checked baggage if unloaded and properly locked in a hard-sided
container. Passengers may be summoned to assist Transportation
Security Officers (TSOs) in the screening of firearms and firearm
parts. Airlines may have additional restrictions on the transport of
The FAA requires ammunition to be
properly packaged. The FAA and airlines may have additional
restrictions on the amount of ammunition that may be placed in
Violations can result in
criminal prosecution and civil penalties up to $10,000 per
Even if an item is generally permitted,
it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the
checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process,
appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security
concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any
items on the plane.