FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More

Airports and Aircraft

I. Introduction

As a general rule, except for lawfully checking a firearm, including a handgun in checked baggage for interstate transportation to another jurisdiction with reciprocal carry, firearms are not allowed at airports. There are a number of licensees who fail to remember that they are still carrying a handgun and proceed to security (a controlled or sterile area) and run into all sorts of criminal trouble.

Because our society has expressed a zero-tolerance policy for firearms anywhere near the controlled areas of an airport or in the passenger cabin of aircraft, the very strict provisions are set forth in the GLBS Guide to help solidify the great risk this may create for Readers with an inattentive focus or hostile approach to TSA. In other words, more coverage is provided and beyond the somewhat narrower focus in other chapters.

Specifically, under the U.S. Code, there are a number of civil and/or criminal provisions for attempting to enter a controlled area of an airport or aircraft with a firearm or other restricted device.  The central provision prohibiting the carrying of a firearm onto an aircraft is set forth, followed by excepted persons. Following that, other applicable provisions of the FPC are identified and briefly analyzed.

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II. Boarding Aircraft

Under this category, there are several potential criminal acts:

A person shall not when on, or attempting to get on, an aircraft in, or intended for operation in, air transportation or intrastate air transportation, having on or about the person a concealed dangerous weapon that is or would be accessible to the individual during flight.

A person shall not place, or attempt to place, a loaded firearm on the aircraft in property that is accessible to passengers in flight.  A loaded firearm means a starter gun or weapon designed or converted to expel a projectile through an explosive, and that has a cartridge, a detonator or powder in the chamber, magazine, cylinder or clip.

A person shall not place, or attempt to place, on the aircraft an explosive or incendiary device. For a violation of these FPC provisions, the person shall be fined under Title 18, imprisoned for not more than ten (10) years, or both.

Where a person willfully and without regard for the safety of human life, or with reckless disregard for the safety of human life, violates these FPC provisions, he or she shall be fined under Title 18, imprisoned for not more than twenty (20) years, or both.  If death results as a result of the commission of the crime, the person shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

This FPC provision does not apply to an individual transporting an unloaded and disclosed firearm in checked luggage.  If the interstate transportation to the reciprocal state is by commercial flight, this is likely the means by which the handgun will be transported.

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III. Entering Airport or Aircraft in Violation of Security Requirements

A person may not knowingly and willfully enter an airport area or aircraft that serves as an air carrier or foreign air carrier, in violation of security laws and regulations. While the mens rea (mental) element of this crime might not ultimately allow for a conviction, an “accident” will not simply be brushed aside. You would be arrested and the weapon confiscated at a minimum. In transitioning from reciprocal carry to interstate transport and back, it is easy to forget about the concealed weapon; those who carry on a daily basis do it without super-conscious awareness.

A person who enters a controlled area of an airport or aircraft under this general penal rule shall be fined under Title 18, imprisoned for not more than one (1) year, or both. However, if the person enters the controlled area of the airport or aircraft, with the intent to commit a felony under Federal or State law, he or she shall be fined under Title 18, imprisoned for not more than ten (10) years, or both.

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IV. Interference With TSA or Other Screeners

Transporting firearms in checked luggage is a new and sometimes stressful event for travelers. Thus, if TSA inspects or otherwise inquires about the firearm (presumably a handgun for purposes of the GLBS Guide) be calm, cool and collected.  Otherwise, it may appear suspicious and open the door for unnecessary criminal risks.

An individual, in an area within a commercial service airport in the U.S., who assaults a Federal, airport or air carrier employee who has security duties within the airport, interferes with the performance of the employee’s duties, or lessens the employee’s ability to perform those duties, commits a crime.

A person interfering with an airport’s security personnel shall be fined under Title 18, imprisoned for not more than ten (10) years, or both. If the individual used a dangerous weapon in committing the assault or interference, the individual may be imprisoned for any term of years or life imprisonment.

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V. Conclusion

Airports and aircraft are highly regulated and controlled in all regards. This includes introducing firearms into the mix.  However, the interstate right to transportation of a firearm from any lawful place to any other, coupled with the fairly clear TSA requirements, makes this serious topic relatively easy to comply with, and has little ambiguity. Firearms are routinely checked in passenger baggage every day.

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More