Gun possession at international airports is a major problem. Hundreds of people are arrested and charged with illegal firearm possession in airports every year in Florida. In most cases, people are unaware of the local laws and regulations on gun possession in the airport and believe that they can carry a firearm once they have a concealed carry permit.
However, there are strict regulations in place for gun possession at St. Petersburg Clearwater International Airport. If you do not follow these regulations, and try to take a firearm in your carry-on baggage, you can face serious criminal and civil penalties. If you have had your firearms seized in a Florida airport and been charged with a crime, contact The Law Place Today.
At The Law Place, we have over 75 years of combined experience in criminal defense law. Our St. Petersburg defense attorneys have what it takes to put up a powerful defense for your illegal gun possession case. We have helped many clients get their charges dropped or reduced substantially to prevent serious criminal penalties, and we can do the same for you.
Our lawyers understand the serious consequences of an illegal possession conviction, and we want to do everything we can to protect your future. With experience on both sides of the courtroom, as prosecutors and defenders, we have what it takes to get a positive outcome in your case.
Call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation at (941)-444-4444.
Gun Possession Statistics at Florida Airports
Over the past number of years, there has been a substantial increase in the number of illegal gun possessions at Florida airports. From 2021 to 2022, there was a 28% increase in the number of gun owners charged with illegal possession in airports. This can be accredited to a significant increase in the number of people traveling after the Covid-19 lockdown periods and ignorance of firearm possession laws by travelers.
Out of the top 10 airports with guns seized in 2022, Florida had three airports listed, including Orlando International Airport, Tampa International Airport, and Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. As of December 2022, there have been 820 guns seized at Florida airports, including 18 at St. Pete Clearwater International Airport.
Because of the large number of guns seized in Florida airports, the maximum civil penalty by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has increased to $14,950. If you are caught with a loaded firearm, which happens in over 88% of cases, the fine is at least $3,000.
Laws on Gun Possession at St. Petersburg Clearwater International Airport
As per Florida statute 790.06 (12), it is illegal to carry a weapon, including a firearm and other deadly weapons, within the passenger terminal of an airport. If you have a valid concealed weapon permit, you can travel with your firearm in your checked baggage, provided it is an unloaded firearm in a locked, hard-sided box, and you have notified the airline ahead of time.
If you want to carry ammunition clips through an airport, they must be in their original box packed inside the hard-side case, next to the unloaded weapon. This hard-side case must be brought to the airline check-in desk and declared before the flight. The baggage will be stored in the airplane’s belly so that nobody can access the weapon during the flight.
Firearm possession laws vary by state and local government. However, the law strictly prohibits bringing weapons through security checkpoints in all Florida airports, including St. Pete Clearwater International Airport, Jacksonville International Airport, Miami International Airport, and all other airports in the state.
Local law enforcement officers and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers are tough on these regulations. If you bring weapons through TSA checkpoints in your carry-on bag, you can be arrested and charged with illegal firearm possession. Failure to put your firearm in your checked baggage can lead to severe criminal and civil penalties.
Penalties for Illegal Gun Possession at Florida Airports
Illegally transporting guns through a Florida airport such as St. Petersburg, Clearwater can have serious consequences. If you are tried and convicted of the crime, you can receive both criminal and civil TSA penalties. The TSA penalties vary depending on whether you have previous convictions and whether the gun was loaded. For an unloaded gun, you can receive a fine of $1,500, and a loaded gun could lead to a $3,000 fine.
The criminal penalties, as charged under Florida criminal law, include:
- Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit – Third-degree felony with penalties of up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
- Carrying a concealed weapon (other than a gun) through an airport without a valid permit – First-degree misdemeanor with penalties of up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
- Carrying a concealed weapon in carry-on baggage or in a restricted area with a valid permit – Second-degree misdemeanor with fines of up to $500 and sixty days in jail.
If you have previous gun-related charges or have been previously convicted for carrying a weapon in an airport, the penalties you face will be more serious. Contact an attorney immediately if you are facing criminal charges for illegal gun possession in Florida airports.
What Happens If I Bring a Gun Through a TSA Security Checkpoint?
If you are caught bringing a weapon through an airport security checkpoint, the scanning machines will be stopped by TSA agents and the airport police will be called to the scene. Although security checkpoints are monitored by federal agents, the state and local governments have the responsibility for charging and arresting people for illegal gun possession.
You will either be arrested and detained at the scene, or you will be permitted to travel but receive a written arrest to your address. Florida’s major airports may be stricter than smaller airports on TSA regulations to ensure the safety of other passengers. If you have previous convictions for illegal possession or gun-related charges, the airport security agents will be a lot stricter with you at the security checkpoint.
Contact the St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Lawyers at The Law Place Today!
Being caught illegally carrying a weapon through an international airport can have serious, long-lasting consequences. If you are facing criminal charges or TSA penalties, contact a criminal defense lawyer at The Law Place today. Our lawyers have seen firsthand the consequences of having a criminal record and we want to do everything we can to prevent it.
With over 75 years of combined experience in criminal defense law, we have a deep understanding of local Florida and federal laws on gun possession. Our lawyers have won multiple awards for their hard work and dedication to protecting clients in criminal defense cases. All of our criminal defense attorneys have AVVO ratings of 10.0, which is the highest rating attainable.
Our law firm cares about protecting your rights and ensuring that you are awarded a fair chance in your criminal case. We will negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf to get the charges reduced or dropped and, if necessary, we will fight aggressively on your behalf in a St. Petersburg Clearwater criminal court.
Call our law firm today at (941)-444-4444 to arrange a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.