Bringing guns to an airport is more common than you would think. In 2022, over 6,000 guns were intercepted at international airports in the United States, with over 820 being seized in Florida airports. In most cases, passengers are unaware of the local and federal regulations on bringing concealed weapons through airport checkpoints.
People often accidentally bring loaded weapons through airport checkpoints, unaware that they cannot do this even with a valid permit. If you are caught and arrested by local law enforcement agents, you can face severe criminal and civil consequences. Being convicted of a gun crime is a serious matter, and you will need the help of a criminal defense attorney to protect your future.
At The Law Place, our criminal defense attorneys have over 75 years of collective experience. We have significant experience defending clients in cases similar to yours and we have helped many people get their gun charges dropped or reduced substantially. As Ft. Lauderdale defense attorneys, our job is to protect your legal rights and ensure that you have an airtight defense to the charge brought against you.
Our attorneys have experience on both sides of the courtroom, so we know what it takes to build a powerful defense and win a case. We understand the severe consequences of a criminal conviction on your future opportunities, and we want to do everything we can to prevent this. With consistently high ratings on AVVO, you know you can trust The Law Place lawyers to get a favorable result in your case.
Call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation at (941)-444-4444.
Gun Laws at Fort Lauderdale Airport
The laws on carrying firearms through an international airport in Florida are found under Florida statute 790.06 (12). This statute provides that it is prohibited to openly carry a firearm or a concealed weapon in:
“The inside of the passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport, provided that no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal, which firearm is encased for shipment for purposes of checking such firearm as baggage to be lawfully transported on any aircraft.”
This means that a person cannot bring a firearm into the passenger terminal of an airport, which includes the TSA security checkpoint, even with a concealed carry permit. Guns and other weapons cannot be brought through security checkpoints in your carry-on bags or on your person. To bring a weapon on a flight, the gun must be unloaded, packed, and in a locked hard-sided container in your checked baggage. You must also notify the airline in advance and let them know at the ticket counter.
TSA officials are trained to spot a concealed firearm on a passenger, whether it is at a security checkpoint or walking through the airport. If you are caught with a weapon in your possession at the airport, even with a valid permit, you could face serious consequences. Unless you follow the correct procedures for transporting a weapon, you could be arrested by TSA agents or local police officers.
For a free legal consultation with a gun possession lawyer serving Ft. Lauderdale, call 941-444-4444
Statistics on Bringing Guns Through Florida Airports
Surprisingly, the number of people who illegally bring guns through Florida airports is high. In fact, three Florida airports were among the top ten airports with guns caught by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). These airports included Orlando International Airport, Tampa International Airport, and Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport.
The number of people bringing guns through airport checkpoints has increased substantially. This has resulted from an increase in the number of people traveling after Covid-19, an increase in gun ownership, and a lack of awareness of gun laws. From 2021 to 2022, the number of gun owners charged with illegal possession in airports increased by 28%.
If you are traveling through Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International airport, or any airport in Florida, you must read up on local and federal gun laws. The penalties for bringing a gun in your carry-on bags, even with a concealed weapons permit, are severe and you could face civil penalties of up to $14,950.
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Penalties for Illegal Possession of a Firearm
A person charged with illegal possession of a firearm in an international airport can face both criminal and civil consequences. Over the past three years, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued over $52 million in fines against travelers carrying firearms through airports.
If you carry a loaded gun through the airport, you can face a $3,000 fine. If the gun is unloaded, you can face a $1,500 fine. The fines increase substantially if you have any previous convictions or other gun possession-related charges. On top of this, the criminal penalties under Florida law include:
- Second-degree misdemeanor – Carrying a concealed firearm with a valid concealed weapons permit in a restricted area. The penalties for this include up to sixty days of jail time and a maximum fine of $500.
- First-degree misdemeanor – Carrying a concealed weapon (not a gun) through the airport without a valid permit. The penalties for this include up to $1,000 in fines and up to one year of jail time.
- Third-degree felony – Carrying a concealed gun without a permit through a restricted area. The penalties for this include up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
The types of dangerous weapons other than guns that are prohibited in Florida airports include razors and razor blades, bombs, grenades, metallic knuckles, stun guns, explosives, and knives with blades longer than 3.5 inches. If you have been arrested and charged with illegal gun possession in an airport before, or if you have other gun-related convictions, you will face much harsher penalties.
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Will Federal Law Enforcement Officials Arrest Me?
Often, passengers think that because they go through TSA security checkpoints, they will get in trouble with the federal government or a federal agency. However, state law enforcement and aviation security officials are responsible for arresting passengers who bring guns through airports. Police in Fort Lauderdale rely on local state laws to arrest and charge individuals that violate gun possession laws.
Whether you are transporting through Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, Palm Beach International Airport, or Miami International Airport, the local law enforcement in each region bears responsibility for dealing with these crimes. This means that rather than going through the federal court system and dealing with the high conviction rate and harsh penalties, you have a better chance at the local and state level.
Passengers that violate gun possession laws will be subject to criminal penalties by state courts and may also receive civil penalties from the TSA. However, it is rare for passengers to receive federal penalties on top of this. If you have had firearms found on your person or in your carry-on bags in Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, contact The Law Place immediately to ensure that you get the best result possible in your case.
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Can I Pick Up My Gun at The Baggage Claim at Ft. Lauderdale Airport?
Many people are unsure about whether they can carry their guns through an airport once they have picked up their checked luggage after a flight. If you pick up your bags in the baggage claim area, you must wait until you leave the airport before you can take the gun from your luggage and carry it on your body.
It is strictly prohibited to have a concealed weapon on your body or in your carry-on bags while in the passenger terminal airport. You could also get in trouble for having a weapon in and around the area of the airport, particularly in Fort Lauderdale, given the tragedy that took place in 2017. If you have a firearm in your checked baggage, it is best to wait until you are in your vehicle outside of the airport before you take the weapon out of your luggage.
Hiring a Lawyer for Illegal Gun Possession Cases
The consequences of an illegal gun possession conviction are severe. You could face serious felony charges for accidentally carrying a weapon through the airport and pay huge fines to the TSA. The best way to avoid this is by hiring a criminal defense lawyer from the get-go. As soon as you are arrested and have your gun taken from you at the airport, we recommend calling a defense attorney.
Your attorney can explain your rights, ensure you understand the law, and help you negotiate with the TSA officer to prevent charges from being brought against you. They can use their legal knowledge to help explain the situation and prevent serious criminal charges. If criminal charges are brought against you, your lawyer will represent you throughout your case.
Your lawyer will accompany you to your court date, negotiate with the prosecutor to get the charges reduced substantially, negotiate a fair criminal penalty, such as community service or a suspended sentence, and fight to prevent a permanent criminal record. If the case goes to trial, your lawyer will fight aggressively on your behalf to prevent a criminal conviction.
Contact The Law Place Today!
At The Law Place, we know accidents can easily happen. If you do not know about gun possession laws for the airport or forget about a loaded gun in your carry-on baggage, it is easy to get into serious trouble. For a minor mistake, you could face up to five years in prison, huge fines, and a permanent criminal record, which has long-lasting consequences. With a criminal record, you could lose your right to own a gun, face difficulties getting employment, and cannot get a loan from a bank.
To prevent these serious consequences, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. At The Law Place, we have a team of committed and aggressive criminal defense lawyers with over 75 years of combined experience. In our team, we have former prosecutors that have spent many years on the other side of the courtroom. Because of this, they have an in-depth understanding of the prosecutor’s mind and will use this knowledge to benefit your case.
We understand how the criminal justice system works in Fort Lauderdale, and our job is to protect people from falling victim to it. A criminal defense attorney from our law firm will investigate your case, assess whether your rights were violated, build a defense strategy, and negotiate with the prosecutor to get your charges dropped or reduced. We want to protect your future against a criminal conviction.
Call us today at (941)-444-4444 to schedule a free consultation with a Fort Lauderdale gun defense lawyer.
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