With airports all over the world on increased security alerts, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is upping the repercussions for anyone who accidentally bringing a gun to a security checkpoint. It’s serious enough that you might want to quadruple-check every single pocket before you even download your boarding pass.
From now on, forgetting a pistol in a bag will mean you are no longer protected by state law and could face up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine.
According to this story from The Washington Times, a Georgia law passed two years ago says permitted gun owners could take guns discovered in their carry-on luggage back to their cars, or give them to someone for safe keeping, without facing any criminal charges.
The FBI says it’s simply clarifying the fact that the state law doesn’t apply at federal security checkpoints. The new penalties will go into effect June 1. The story says 113 guns were found by screeners at that particular airport. But Atlanta isn’t an isolated case. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) fired its head of security, Peter Neffenger, this week amid an uproar over long lines at security checkpoints, a scrutiny of bogus payments, and undercover investigations have show that a large percentage of weapons are making it through airport security checkpoints.
According to this story from USA Today, some lawmakers blasted TSA at the hearing regarding Neffenger’s dismissal because the administration paid bonuses in the wake of the watchdog reports.
From the USA Today story: “The pressure on TSA has been building in recent weeks amid reports of unprecedented airport security lines across the nation. Passenger numbers approached record totals while the numbers of screening personnel were trimmed. Those issues were supposed to be offset by travelers signing up for the expedited PreCheck screening program, but the number of fliers registering has fallen short of expectations.”