Gun Hero of the Day: Sanford Florida Airport Police Cmdr. Larry Dale

Sanford Airport Police Cmdr (and CEO) Larry Dale courtesy

“An armed passenger stopped by TSA last week received concierge-style service from the Orlando Sanford International Airport Police Department,” snarks. “Rather than arrest the man Friday, as is customary at the larger Orlando International Airport, cops allowed Michael Deegan to catch his flight to Ohio and held the loaded .38-caliber revolver for him while he was away. On Monday evening, Deegan returned from Columbus and retrieved his gun. He headed home to Fort Pierce without criminal charges, unlike more than 1,000 armed passengers arrested at U.S. airports last year, according to interviews and records.” You want common sense gun control? Here’s your common sense gun control . . .

“There appears to be no nexus to terrorism and this report is for informational purposes only,” police wrote. “There was no disruption of airport activities due to this incident.”

The senior police officer on the scene Friday was Cmdr. Larry Dale, who also serves as Sanford Airport Authority’s chief executive officer and president.

“I think the report speaks for itself,” Dale said when asked Wednesday afternoon why he didn’t arrest Deegan. “We determined the circumstances didn’t warrant an arrest in this case.”

While it’s pretty stupid to forget a gun when traveling via the TSA’s blue-shirted goons, I think Cmdr Dale’s action speak for themselves as well. Here’s hoping he gets a commendation rather than a black mark on his record. Click here to send an email to the Airport Authority expressing your support. [h/t SS]


  1. avatar jwm says:

    Wow, my feet are cold. Hell musta froze over.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      Laugh – funny!

    2. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Now that is funny!!!

  2. avatar PJTalker says:

    I see a new business venture blooming! Gun-Check counters at Airports. Secured facilities to leave your firearms and pick them back up when you return. Brilliant!

    1. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

      If the airports actually gave a @%#$ the would have already done something like this, given how many people have had items confiscated and thrown away (or simply stolen by TSA folks).

      One could either set up lockers so that people can store those things that they aren’t able to take, or set up a courier service so that those things can be packaged and mailed to the destination (or both).

      It’s not hard to figure out solutions. But when the TSA is in charge of all, and there’s no competition involved for providing better security, there’s no incentive to make people happy.

      1. avatar JR says:

        Well, for what it’s worth, the ‘courier’ service does exist via USPS. I flew out of Denver not too long ago and had forgotten to put my carry knife into a checked bag. TSA at first gave me a bit of a hard time about it, but then the guy got really cool and ‘escorted’ me to the kiosk to mail it to myself. He then escorted me back through security so I did not have to wait in the entire line the again.

        It was actually far less painful than I thought it would be. There are individuals that can still think for themselves, and when they do…things don’t work too poorly.

        it’s the automatons we must fear…humans operating on “zero tolerance.”

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Yeah, that’s great if you are going through security screening between the hours of 9:00 to 4:00 p.m. (minus the time for lunch between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m.) and you have extra time to stand in line at the Post Office.

        2. avatar JR says:

          It wasn’t a line at the PO…it was an actual little kiosk at the security checkpoint. It seems that this sort of thing happens a lot, and they are set up to handle it…more or less.

          And in my case, it was not between 9 and 4, it was about 0530 or so.

          But, it was not a gun, so I have no idea how THAT would have worked out. Still, when I realized I had my knife, I figured I’d never see it again. Pleasant surprise (at the time) to find out that they had a system in place to handle a my bone headed forgetfulness.

    2. avatar A samurai says:

      A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I wanna be a partner.

    3. avatar Col. Angus says:

      Special consideration will be given to minority-owners and favored political contributors.

  3. avatar Matt in IL says:

    There’s no link to email support.

  4. avatar Matt in FL says:

    This is the same airport I wrote about nearly two years ago where I received courteous treatment from both the TSA folks and the airport police. Good on them for doing it right.

  5. avatar Defens says:

    This is as it should be – almost. It would be better if he could just get on a plane with the pistol, but we won’t be seeing that for a while.

    I once had a mag of 9mm that had somehow migrated to the bottom of the pistol-concealment pocket of my computer bag. I had checked through the bag for prohibited articles prior to my trip, but missed finding it. It made it through two bag x-ray checks, before being discovered by LAX security. The TSA rank and file were quite professional. The LAPD officer who took me aside was, as well. After a brief discussion, they unloaded the mag, the LAPD officer walked me down to the luggage area so they could take my mag and put it in my checked bags (he actually didn’t have a problem with me taking it aboard, but said the TSA dudes would get into a snit over it.) Then he walked me back through the TSA checkin line and I got on my plane on time. The TSA supervisor was pretty unhappy – asked the LAPD officer, “Well, aren’t you going to arrest him?” The answer – “What for? He broke no law – accidentally bringing a mag through the checkout – with no malicious intent – isn’t even a crime.” All in all, don’t want to duplicate the experience, but wasn’t as nasty as might have been anticipated.

    1. avatar Insectguy says:

      Same thing happened to me in Chattanooga, except the TSA filed a report, and two months later I received a civil penalty of $250, payable at I was not happy.

  6. avatar DanRRZ says:

    Ironic timing, I travel often for work and have pussyfooted around the idea of bringing a carry gun in states that honor my permit. I have a trip to TX coming up in early Feb. and have scoured the TSA regs to make sure I have all my ducks in a row before I give it a go. I’ll take this as a good omen.

      1. avatar DanRRZ says:

        Thanks Matt, I remember reading that and being shocked the airport baggage handler spoke gun and recognized the XDm case.

  7. avatar Ken says:

    I wouldn’t be jumping up and down for joy just yet. As noted in the newspaper article, the feds can still bring a civil case against him.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      It’s unlikely. Because it’s a first offense, they’ll most likely send him a nasty letter telling him all the punishments he could have been subjected to, and they’ll let it go.

    2. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

      So let me get up to speed… isn’t the Federal violation the act of having a firearm in the secure area of an airport? Anything above and beyond that (i.e., laws against firearms in screening area itself – which is still non-secure) is a matter of state law, right?

      So to me, he didn’t violate any Federal law… he brought a gun up the the transition between the non-secure and secure areas, at which point the item was identified and removed. The controls in place prevented the Federal crime from occurring. Local officers used discretion to not charge him with a state violation.

      If just getting to the threshold of a Federal crime was actually a crime, wouldn’t we all get busted for setting our cruise control to 55 (at least when that limit was in effect)?

  8. avatar frank from nsa says:

    yup, we are watching him now. he has nowhere to hide (evil laugh)

  9. avatar Roscoe says:

    A gem in a quary of rocks!

  10. avatar Henry Bowman says:

    I guess there are still some Peace Officers out there. I called and left a message of gratitude to him for honoring his oath.

  11. avatar flatfootedman says:

    FBI weighed in: its a federal crime to attempt a board in aircraft with a firearm. Before that point, it’s a State offense.

  12. avatar cubby123 says:

    Isn’t that what they did at the saloons in Tombstone?

  13. avatar Chris Mallory says:

    Doing what you are supposed to do does not make you a hero. Using common sense does not make you a hero. Not doing the wrong thing does not make you a hero.

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      If he had done what he was “supposed” to do he would’ve arrested him and made that guy’s life hell.

    2. avatar PeterK says:

      It’s still plenty noteworthy.

    3. avatar Craig says:

      Being a buzzkill does not help either 😉

    4. avatar Henry Bowman says:

      A man how honors his oath is rare in today’s culture of liars. You gotta know who your friends are, as well as your enemies.

    5. avatar jwm says:

      Chris, I’m sure you can get therapy for your “Little Man Syndrome”. Check in with obarrycare and see.

    6. avatar JR says:

      Perhaps not in the purist sense, but standing against the current and fighting peer pressure to continue to do wrong does make a hero.

      Honor should ALWAYS be congratulated. It is past time for more vocal positive reinforcement of behavior like this from law enforcement types.

    7. avatar Hannibal says:

      I agree but “Noteworthy Gun Proponent \ Advocate \ User \Person of the Day” apparently didn’t score well in surveys.

  14. avatar cubby123 says:

    GEE let’s go try the same thing at the same airport and see what happens!

  15. avatar Justin_GA says:

    Standing ovation! The Police Commander should be head of the DOJ!

    1. avatar WayneMHK says:

      At this point, I’d just about take anybody as head of the DOJ other than what we have.

      1. avatar Randy Drescher says:

        It’s a shame Kevorkian can’t get in there & put them out of my misery, Randy

  16. avatar Randy Drescher says:

    Sanford? Did something happen to the time/space continuum? All barbed caustic comments aside, good for you Dale, Randy

  17. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    Crap happens and it should not mean the person who makes an honest mistake should receive life altering punishment for an ooops. While I have never forgot a gun in a bag, it still could happen. My cousin had a few .22lr in the bottom of his bag and he was grilled for over two hours like a terrorist at the airport. They finally let him go, but for goodness sake, it’s two .22lr bullets! Take them out of his bag and toss them.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:


      This is exactly the problem … that being armed is ever a “mistake” or “wrong”.

      And yes, law enforcement grilled your cousin for hours because they indeed view all of us citizens as terrorists! See my comment below.

      This is where we HAVE to start pushing back. What the hell is wrong with our country when the State looks at every citizen as a terrorist? What the hell is wrong with all of US for quietly accepting this attitude and the resulting actions from our State?

  18. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Has it dawned on anyone how utterly pathetic it is that Mr. Dale seems to be the only law enforcement officer in the country who does the right thing?

    And look at the report. The police said they did not charge the passenger because, after questioning the passenger, they had no reason to believe that the passenger was a terrorist. What that report also tells us is that our State considers all armed citizens to be terrorists until proven otherwise!

    How far we have fallen.

  19. avatar Mediocrates says:

    Here I was thinking LEOs enjoyed every opportunity they can to stick it to us ignoramuses. I like this man.

  20. avatar Paul53 Old gringo says:

    A man with a brain in a position of power! Treat him well, this can’t be tolerated by the politicians.

  21. avatar Rick says:

    This is starting to remind me of the urban legend about the guy that pawned his Rolls Royce for $1000 before leaving on a two-week trip to Europe…

  22. avatar ConnorMN says:

    Bravo Commander… Bravo.

  23. avatar Dave s says:

    There is a lawman worthy of the title of Peace Officer

  24. avatar 2hotel9 says:

    This is exactly how it should work, not just for firearms, knives too. Most travelers return to the first airport where they go through security to board a flight at, so holding such goods should not be a problem. It should be a revenue generator for the airport, short and long term storage lockers. Ya know! Seems like they have such as that at airports already! Wow, what a concept.

    And a heartfelt thank you to this officer for actually doing his job correctly. Too bad he is going to get hammered by the feds.

  25. avatar bontai Joe says:

    I’ve had 2 Swiss army knives and a mini Mag Lite confiscated at different airports and that was before 9-11. I’m not sure why the flashlight was considered “evil”, but I didn’t argue. I’ve chosen to never argue with folks that can have me arrested for any reason that they can think up, unless they are threatening my family or me with injury.

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