New Texas Law: No More Arrests for Concealed Guns “Forgotten” in Carry-On Luggage

P1070263

We’ve heard the same story hundreds of times. In the rush to get to the airport, some gun owner forgot to double check their carry-on luggage. Hiding inside: a loaded handgun that they meant to remove and leave at home, but forgot. Until the TSA fishes it out of the bag for them and calls the fuzz. This happens almost every day in Texas — we actually lead the nation in concealed handguns found at TSA checkpoints. Normally instances such as this would result in felony charges (it is illegal to bring a concealed handgun into the secured area of an airport), but a new Texas law will put an end to that.

The law, HB554, was passed without much fanfare on the 27th and is currently sitting on the Governor’s desk to be signed. The bill applies to people with a concealed carry license who accidentally enter the security screening process, and shields them from prosecution and even arrest if they immediately exit the screening area and ditch their gun outside.

The law comes nearly two years after a Texas lawmaker was arrested in the Austin airport for exactly this offense.Is it a little jaded to think that the new law is a direct result of a lawmaker’s arrest? Probably. But I don’t care about the impetus, I’m just happy that some common sense gun laws are being put into action.

comments

  1. avatar Chip in North FL says:

    Seems like TX is on a roll lately….I may have to consider moving there.

  2. avatar Danilushka says:

    I simply hate being chained to California by our family’s job situations more and more every day.

    1. avatar dlj95118 says:

      …roger that!

  3. avatar Bob says:

    No I don’t think it is jaded to suspect that the only reason this bill came up is because one of the ruling class got victimized.

  4. avatar Ralph says:

    The law comes nearly two years after a Texas lawmaker was arrested in the Austin airport for exactly this offense. Is it a little jaded to think that the new law is a direct result of a lawmaker’s arrest?

    It’s not a little jaded, it’s a lot jaded. If all it took to change the law was a politician getting pinched, wouldn’t lying under oath, bribery and buggering school children be legal?

    1. avatar Irish1776 says:

      A+++

  5. avatar Noishkel says:

    There’s no legitimate reason why the law should be so tight in these cases. Any incident with improperly stored firearm should NOT be a criminal charge automatically. Obvious, if you find someone that’s showing signs of being an honest threat then that should be handed accordingly. But blanket policies don’t do any good for society.

    1. avatar UpChuck.Liberals says:

      An “improperly stored firearm” is one that isn’t on your person. IMNSOHO

  6. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Now THATS a common sense gun law.

  7. avatar borg says:

    The downside to ditching the gun outside is that anyone including a prohibited person could acquire the ditched gun.

    1. avatar CA.Ben says:

      I think the assumption is that your gun will be ditched into your car, or the car of a friend/family member who is dropping you off at the airport.

      1. avatar borg says:

        That would not be an option if the traveler took a cab or a bus

    2. avatar Icabod says:

      The last time I was at the airport, I noticed a collection box for knives. You basically put your knife in a mailing envelope and put it in the box. For a fair amount of dollars they would mail the knife to you.
      I’m sure some enterprising people would work something like this out. Have a security person safeguard the gun, then it’s moved to a LGS. Yep, lots of dollars, lots of time. Other then that, does the owner surrender the gun to the authorities?

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        If it’s legal to mail a gun to yourself, find a padded envelope (gift shop perhaps?) and mail it to yourself…

        1. avatar Roger says:

          It is not legal to mail a handgun via the USPS. Has to be overnighted via a common carrier, i.e. UPS, FedEx, etc.
          Don’t know if they have any UPS of FedEx stores in the Airports, but I don’t think the do.

  8. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    Stupid felony to begin with. Felonies should be reserved for things that actually cause harm, such as armed robbery or murder.

    Nice one, Texas.

    1. avatar Irish1776 says:

      To be the Devils advocate…
      On the flip side, do you want nutjobs trying to smuggle handguns on planes?

      1. avatar Gary McClenny says:

        Absolutely! I have always advocated, even in the 70 during the hijackings, that everyone should be issued a .38 revolver when they board. If everyone is armed, no one will attempt a hijacking!

      2. avatar Chip Bennett says:

        …as if TSA and their 95% failure rate is going to prevent that nutjob from smuggling a firearm onto a plane in the first place?

    2. avatar Gary McClenny says:

      +1

    3. avatar Gary McClenny says:

      Chip, do you not live in the great state of Texas?

      1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

        No, sir. Born, raised, and thankfully again now living in Indiana.

  9. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    GOOD…never happen in Illinois.

  10. avatar Rokurota says:

    Why only a license holder? Hmm?

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I’m guessing that permit holders have been previously vetted and can be easily checked out. Plus non-holders can’t usually conceal and carry a gun in a bag.

    2. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      Ralph’s right. If you’re walking around with a handgun in your bag, without a license, you’re already committing a crime. They’re not going to comp you on two firearm offenses.

      For a CHL carrier, it’s just the one offense, and in that case it’s more likely that it really was just actually an honest mistake rather than a serious attempt to smuggle a weapon aboard the aircraft.

      I know, I know, we shouldn’t have to have licenses for a right in the first place. I get it. We’re tearing down those infringements bit by bit. Remember, Rome wasn’t sacked in a day.

  11. avatar JohnF says:

    An article about Texas airports and you use a stock photo of the concourse at Reagan National in DC? And it’s the same photo you used in an article about Reagan airport back in Oct. 2011. You’re getting as bad as the mainstream media! BTW, there are plenty of pictures of the airports at Dallas, Houston, Austin, etc, on the web.

    1. avatar william johnson says:

      You beat me to it

    2. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

      I took that photo. I like it. Sue me.

  12. avatar John Boch says:

    A common sense gun law.

    I like it.

  13. avatar Ken says:

    If I’m not mistaken, federal penalties could still apply. Hefty fines, if I recall.

  14. avatar Irish1776 says:

    How careless does one have to be to have a firearm in their bag and not know it? I know where every single firearm I own is, at any given time. Going to an Airport, I make a conscious effort not to carry anything I don’t want to lose (A nice Zippo, Multitool, edc knife, etc).

    1. avatar Joe in CT says:

      ^^^ This. Every gun I own is in a safe or on my person, not laying around in a random bag somewhere.

    2. avatar Gary McClenny says:

      You don’t travel much do you? I am on the road 180 days a year. Things happen. Sometimes, you cannot body carry so it goes in the bag.

      1. avatar Joe in CT says:

        Most Of the time actually — 50%+ on average. I have a safe in the car for traveling through the communist states of NY, NJ, and MA (actually 2, one for weapons, one for ammo, because NY and NJ interpret their transport laws a little differently from the norm). Like I said, 0% chance I’m picking up a random bag and not remembering there’s a weapon in there. IMHO that’s criminal negligence.

  15. avatar Silver says:

    Antis spend a day dressing in orange to signify their willful slavery to state control, gun owners get another tangible victory.

  16. avatar BlueBronco says:

    I have never understood why they couldn’t just say “hey dumb ass, leave and properly store or check this at the baggage counter.”

    1. avatar Gary McClenny says:

      You cannot check it at the baggage counter—it can only be shipped in a TSA approved container, lockable with a TSA approved key.

      1. avatar Smoke Jensen says:

        It does not require a TSA approved key. But be prepared to wait 20 minutes or so before you go through security. If they wish to inspect your weapon you’ll be called back to the ticket counter where they will request your key.
        I just recently went through this at DAL.

        1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

          You didn’t give the TSA agent that key, did you?

      2. avatar Chip Bennett says:

        Actually, the primary container can NOT use a TSA lock. Firearm lock and key must remain under the firearm owner’s control at all time, per federal law.

        My handgun transport method:

        1. Handgun in hard-sided Ruger case
        2. Hard-sided Ruger case padlocked with non-TSA padlock
        3. Non-TSA padlocked hard-sided Ruger case inside checked luggage, strapped down on top of clothes
        4. Orange airline firearm declaration card slipped between luggage strap and hard-sided Ruger case
        5. Checked luggage padlocked with TSA-compliant padlock

        Knock on wood, I’ve encountered no difficulties yet.

  17. avatar Raed says:

    I don’t know if this is valid at all. It would seem that this would be a federal crime not one that the local laws would have any jurisdiction over. If I’m correct I don’t see the TX attorney general spending taxpayer money to fight a battle they would surely lose.

    If I am wrong then, good on Texas.

    1. avatar Roger says:

      The issue is whether on not the Federal authorities want to spend their time taking in “accidental felons”. With the limited manpower and funding, I don’t think the FBI want to send out an agent for every incident where someone forgot and left a gun in their bag.

  18. avatar AG says:

    My wife was just arrested Wednesday for having her handgun in her purse when going through screening. She is a CHL Holder but made an honest mistake at the SA International Airport. You would have thought she was a terrorist the way the officers swooped in on her. Her gun was confiscated and she was arrested. I feel terrible for her. An honest mistake it was. I can see why the new law is needed. Can anyone recommend a lawyer in San Antonio to help her fight this and get her CHL back.

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