What To Do When Your Flight’s Cancelled And You’ve Got a Gun in Your Luggage and You Have to Go to a Hotel

And there you were thinking no friggin’ way I’m going to get busted for gun possession at an airport like Cleveland Browns DT Shaun Rogers. Yes way. Imagine this [via volokh.com]: “Gregg C. Revell was flying from Salt Lake City to Allentown, Pennsylvania, via Minneapolis and Newark. He had an unloaded gun legally checked in his luggage, which was supposed to meet him at Allentown. Supposed to. In fact, the flight to Newark was late, so Revell missed his connection. He booked himself on the next flight, but the airline changed those plans. He was supposed to get on a bus, but his luggage didn’t get on the bus with him. He found the luggage, but the bus had left, so he had to stay overnight at the hotel, with his luggage.” Yup Busted.

The Firearms Owners’ Protection Act protected Revell on the plane, and would have protected him on the bus. But the moment the luggage came into his hands or otherwise became ‘readily accessible’ to him outside a car . . . he violated New Jersey law, which requires a permit to possess a handgun. Revell was arrested when he checked in with the luggage at Newark Airport, and said (as he was supposed to) that he had an unloaded gun in a locked case in his luggage; he then spent four days in jail until he was released on bail.

Yes, yes. What was he supposed to do? From the court’s ruling:

Stranded gun owners like Revell have the option of going to law enforcement representatives at an airport or to airport personnel before they retrieve their luggage. The careful owner will do so and explain his situation, requesting that his firearm and ammunition be held for him overnight.[18]

[Footnote 18:] Of course, this suggestion leaves unanswered the question of what the gun owner should do if the law enforcement officers decline to assist him. It may be hoped, however, that officers will not compound a blameless owner’s problems in that way.

Hope. We love it! Anyway, as for poor Mr. Revell . . .

Eventually the New Jersey prosecutor dropped the charges against him, but Revell didn’t get the gun and his other property back until almost three years later.


  1. avatar William C. Montgomer says:

    How did the cops know he was packing heat when he left the airport? Did the airport turn him in? Was he flashing the gun around like an idiot? Or did he do something unrelated that prompted NJ's finest to pat him down and toss his bags?

  2. avatar Brett says:

    Newark LIBERTY Airport. Ironic?

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