One of the mandates of the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) is to keep airports and airplanes safe by regulating how passengers can travel with firearms and other dangerous weapons. But, what happens if you are caught with a firearm in an airport or on a plane?
Traveling with an undisclosed weapon is a serious offense with severe penalties. The severity of the penalty largely depends on the type of firearm you are caught with.
Penalties for getting caught with a gun
The first thing that will happen if you are caught with a weapon is detention. Thereafter, your weapon will be confiscated. Alongside the criminal charge, you will be fined as follows based on the type of weapon you have been found with:
- An unloaded firearm: $1,500 to $2,475
- A loaded firearm: $3,000 to $13,910
- Silencers, mufflers frames and/or receivers: $2,090 to $4,170
In very rare circumstances, the TSA may offer a settlement deal of 50 percent of the original fine so the matter can be settled quickly. It is also important to understand that TSA does not make explicit distinctions based on the firearm in your possession.
What if you cannot pay the TSA fine?
The TSA will issue a “Notice of Violation” against you once you have been found with a weapon in a restricted area. This is a civil rather than a criminal charge as the TSA cannot pursue criminal charges against you.
You will have up to 30 days to respond to this violation notice. If you fail to respond, the TSA will issue a 15-day notice. If you ignore both notices, the TSA will forward your case to either the Justice Department or the Department of Treasury for enforcement.
Being caught with a gun in an airport or airplane can lead to serious consequences. Find out how you can safeguard your rights if you are caught with a firearm in an airport.