You always hear stories about people being arrested at airports after being found trying to pass a gun through security.
Usually the gun is in a suitcase and is detected on the x-ray scanner by TSA.
If this happens to you, you will face one of two charges. If you do not have a concealed carry permit, you will be charged with carrying a concealed firearm, a third-degree felony.
If you do have a permit, you will be charged with a misdemeanor permit violation.
Even if you have a permit, you cannot pass a gun through security in your carry-on luggage. If you have a valid permit, a gun stored in your suitcase must be checked and declared. Forms must be filled out. If you do not have a permit, you may still transport your weapons. However, the weapons must not be loaded, must be safely and securely stored, and must be stored separately from the ammunition.
I have represented people charged with passing firearms through airport security. To avoid having to deal with an arrest at the airport (as if travel isn't stressful enough), please make sure to check your suitcases carefully before packing for a trip. More often than not, these incidents are accidental where the accused legitimately forgot that the weapon was in that particular suitcase. However, that is not an excuse the TSA cares to hear. While knowledge of the firearm is a required element of the felony offense, you can still be charged with a misdemeanor whether your knew the gun was in the bag or not.
Also, knowledge can be inferred by the circumstances. The state does not have to proof of actual knowledge.
Eric Matheny is a Miami criminal attorney and Broward criminal attorney. If you are arrested or issued a citation at Miami International or Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, call me.