For decades, law enforcement officials have been seizing firearms at the Orlando International Airport. Fortunately, these isolated cases were most likely related to individuals who simply forgot to remove the personal weapons from their carry-on luggage before entering the airport and passing through TSA screening.
Even though it may have been an innocent mistake, law enforcement has a zero tolerance policy regarding the entering of dangerous weapons into the airport. This means you will be arrested even though you are in a rush to catch a flight. If you are one of these individuals – who has forgotten about the weapon(s) in their luggage and passed through TSA security and gotten arrested – you will need the help of a qualified criminal defense lawyer. Immediately stating that it was a mistake will not make the potential criminal charges and/or penalties go away.
Law enforcement has a number of different ways to proceed with criminal charges. The State Attorney’s office can file a felony charge under Florida Statutes §790.12(2) Carrying a concealed firearm or misdemeanor Florida Statutes §790.06(12) Carry a concealed Weapon into an airport. Another option is for the City Attorney’s office to file a city ordinance complaint for unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon at the airport. Furthermore, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will issue either a civil warning or notice of civil penalty for carrying the firearm into the airport.
The State of Florida considers the entire airport terminal “off limits” to carry a firearm even for license holders. Since the most recent increase in weapons seizures, the Orlando International Airport has considered posting larger signs in the parking areas to remind passengers to leave the weapons behind – and for good reason.