I Was Charged With Possession of a Firearm at the Airport, Now What?
On behalf of Randall & Stump, PLLC in Weapons Charges on Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Few mistakes can be as severe as taking a firearm to the airport. When it’s discovered by security personnel, most often TSA, you’ll be charged and face severe criminal and civil consequences.
It’s essential to understand what happens after you are charged with possession of a firearm at an airport and why you need the help of the weapons crimes defense attorneys at Randall & Stump, PLLC. We have been successful at resolving these cases and eliminating or significantly reducing the penalties, such as the substantial TSA fines that are separate from any criminal charge.
Penalties for Conviction of Firearm Possession at an Airport
Forgetting that you have a gun in your carry-on or a coat pocket while trying to travel through an airport can be an easy mistake to make. You might be rushing to get to the airport on time, focused on your business matters, or health protocols required by the pandemic. Unfortunately, airport security and the TSA do not care about those reasonable explanations.
It also does not matter that North Carolina is an open-carry state or if you have a concealed carry permit. According to a Charlotte city ordinance and federal regulations, possession of a firearm at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport is illegal. You will be charged, regardless of intent, and you may be arrested. If convicted, you face a variety of penalties from different sources. To avoid those, you need our skilled defense lawyers.
There are exceptions to the Charlotte city ordinance prohibiting firearms at the airport, such as law enforcement, military, or legal shipment of weapons. If you fit into one of those, you likely will not be charged in the first place, but if you are, we can probably get your charges dismissed quicker than if you tried to handle it yourself.
Although being caught with a gun at the airport will likely result in a Class 3 misdemeanor charge, it is still a severe legal matter. You could face jail time and a fine. Even worse, you would have a permanent criminal record.
Remember, there are always collateral consequences to a criminal conviction as well. A criminal conviction could affect your employment, relationships, and even your ability to own firearms or have a weapon permit in the future. For these reasons, you need counsel that understands how to defend against charges of possessing a gun at an airport.
And, as serious as all these penalties are, you also face significant financial punishment from the TSA.
Federal regulations strictly define how to legally transport firearms and ammunition through an airport. If you need to do so, always check the TSA rules! Failure to follow these guidelines will lead to criminal charges and civil fines.
Fines for taking a handgun through security will be thousands of dollars. Other types of weapons, such as flare pistols and air or BB guns, will result in fines between $330 and $1,960. Unloaded weapon? You will still be fined between $1,960 and $3,920 per violation. If you have a loaded gun, or it is unloaded, but you can reach ammo, fines jump to between $3,920 and $9,800.
The possible penalties do not end there. If the TSA finds inappropriately stored firearms in checked luggage fines, penalties start at $650 and go as high as $2,610 depending on if the weapon is loaded.
Charged With Possession of a Firearm at an Airport? Let Us Help
When you have made the terrible mistake of taking a firearm to the airport, do not compound it by trying to handle your criminal charges and civil fines by yourself. You may be tempted to do so because of embarrassment or thinking if you cooperate quickly, the result will be better. Do not do it. The defense attorneys at Randall & Stump, PLLC, effectively handled these matters for clients in a similar position and produced optimal outcomes. We likely could do the same for you.