Since Texas’ open carry law went into effect at the beginning of the year, Pistol Pete has carried his Glock everywhere he can in his shoulder holster. In a rush to make his flight to Houston for a business meeting, Pete forgets to remove his holster and attempts to walk through TSA’s screening with his loaded Glock. Does he face big-time legal trouble when the TSA agent sees his gun?
Pete’s Not Alone.
Apparently, passengers attempt to bring guns through airport security several times a day, and TSA says the numbers keep rising each year.
It’s Okay in Texas—if Concealed.
Some Texas airports took a proactive approach to the new open carry laws by posting statements on where gun owners can carry their weapons on airport property. In addition to open carry, last year the Texas Legislature passed a law that gave concealed carry owners the opportunity to immediately leave the airport screening area when security notified him or her that their weapon was discovered. However, the law also seems to provide that it is not a defense if Pete openly carried the weapon, even though he has his CHL. So, Pete may still be in trouble for his open carry folly—although TSA will probably give him a free pass by allowing him to leave the security area and store the weapon in his truck.
Each State is Different.
Pistol Pete might be in some trouble, had this happened in another state. Attempting to carry a gun through airport security is a state issue—not a federal issue—and thus the penalty, if any, is determined by the jurisdiction where the airport is located.
Tilting the Scales in Your Favor.
Accidents happen, especially when we’re distracted. If you inadvertently attempt to take a handgun through security (whether open or concealed carry) tell the TSA agents it was a mistake, you forgot you had it on you, and that you would like to go back to your vehicle. Remember, staying calm is likely to get you the best result under the circumstances!
If you are traveling outside of Texas and plan to bring your gun with you, you should review the gun laws for the states you are traveling through.