The Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport opened in 1974. At 26.9 square miles in size, it is larger than the city of Manhattan. It is also one of the busiest airports in the nation. Even during the pandemic, peak travel days in 2019 still saw an average of 100,000 passengers.
Another airport that serves that Dallas-Fort Worth area is the Love Field Airport (DAL). This airport was built in 1917 as a military base. Ten years later, it was purchased by the City of Dallas. Compared to DFW, Love Field is considerably smaller and less busy, and only serves domestic passengers. But even in the slower travel days of 2020, just under 700,000 passengers passed through.
For most travelers, their visit to DFW or Love Field is unremarkable. It is just a necessary stop on their way to their business or vacation destination. But for a handful of travelers, their visit will end in an airport firearms arrest. In 2020 alone, 176 firearms were discovered at DFW security checkpoints. And at Love Field, there were 54 firearm catches.
DFW Airport Firearms Arrests
If you are a civilian, you cannot bring firearms or ammunition into the secure areas of the DFW or Love Field airports. This is true even for Texas License To Carry (LTC) holders.
Passengers who plan to fly out of these airports need to be aware of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) regulations for firearms and ammunition. Not following these regulations may result in an arrest, criminal charges, and confiscation of your firearms.
Anyone who travels will tell you that it’s a hectic and stressful experience. There are numerous distractions and you are under a time crunch. Many airport firearms arrests are the result of an honest mistake. Someone with a Texas LTC simply forgot they had their firearm with them. Perhaps the gun owner wasn’t aware of TSA regulations. Or, they were in a hurry and someone else packed their bags.
Airport Gun Laws in Texas
Following the airport gun laws in Texas will make your experience at the DFW or Love Field airport go smoothly.
TSA Firearms Regulations
- All firearms must be locked in a hard-sided container and checked-in.
- You must declare any firearms when checking in your baggage.
- Checked-in firearms must be unloaded.
- Different airlines may have fees and/or limitations. Check with your airline before you fly.
- Most firearm accessories, with the exception of scopes, must also be in checked-in baggage.
- Replica firearms, including toys, are subject to these rules as well.
TSA Ammunition Regulations
- Ammunition is not allowed in carry-on luggage. It must also be checked-in.
- Airlines may have limits on ammunition.
- Be aware that, according to the TSA, “Bringing an unloaded firearm with accessible ammunition to the security checkpoint carries the same civil penalty/fine as bringing a loaded firearm to the checkpoint.”
Traveling Internationally with a Firearm and Ammunition
If you are traveling to another country with your firearms, you should consult with both U.S. Customs and your destination airport. Once you land in a foreign country, you are subject to their firearm laws and regulations, which may be different from those of the U.S.
What are the penalties for having a gun at the DFW airport or Love Field airport?
Two sections of Texas Penal Code, Chapter 46. Weapons, set forth the laws that prohibit firearms in secure areas of the airport.
(1.) According to Section 46.03. Places Weapons Prohibited, “A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses or goes with a firearm” or other specified weapon “in or into a secured area of an airport.”
- Per Chapter 12. Punishments, a conviction under this section is a third degree felony.
- Penalties include a prison sentence “for any term of not more than 10 years or less than 2 years.” In addition, “a fine not to exceed $10,000” may be imposed.
However, if you already have a felony conviction on your record, you may face stiffer penalties, pursuant to Section 12.42. Penalties For Repeat And Habitual Felony Offenders On Trial For First, Second, Or Third Degree Felony.
(2.) In addition, Section 46.02. Unlawful Carrying Weapons states that, “A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun, and is not on the person’s own premises or premises under the person’s control.”
What happens after a DFW arrest?
Many individuals arrested for bringing a firearm into DFW Airport will not receive a bond from the DFW Police Department as there is no magistrate judge. Your loved one can be held and transferred to Tarrant County for a bond to be set for them to obtain their freedom and continue their travel. This process can take anywhere from 6 to 12 hours, or up to several days, before they will receive a bond.
Contact attorney Kent Starr, and he can have a bond set by his connections with the magistrate judges of Tarrant County, Texas. For many of our clients who inadvertently left a firearm in their luggage, they have been able to continue their travels the very same day, as Mr. Starr is experienced in the laws governing being arrested for having a firearm in your luggage, purse, or briefcase.
Contact an Experienced Dallas Airport Arrest Attorney
After an airport arrest, you could be facing tough charges. You need to consult with a criminal defense attorney who can defend your legal rights.
But not all criminal attorneys are cut from the same cloth. You need someone who is both aggressive and experienced. When consulting an attorney, the first question you should ask is, “How many cases like mine have you handled?” They should then be able to show you the outcome of these similar cases. Trial outcomes are a matter of public record and can be viewed online.
In addition to being an experienced criminal attorney, Mr. Kent Starr is also a bail bondsman. He knows that Dallas airport arrests can happen any time of the day and night, so he is available 24/7. One phone call will get you out of jail and start your legal representation.
Attorney Kent Starr is a fighter both inside and outside of the courtroom. He is a former Golden Gloves boxer and has earned a first-degree black belt. And unlike other criminal attorneys, he is not intimidated by the prosecution. He plays the long game to seek the best possible outcome for his clients. That includes not accepting the first plea bargain offered and going to trial if necessary. He fights hard for reduced charges, acquittals, and getting your confiscated guns back.
Feel free to review Attorney Kent Starr’s Google reviews. As of March 2021, he has 200 reviews and a 4.9/5.0 rating. Google backs the integrity of their reviews, and will take down any spam or fake reviews.
If you’re facing charges for bringing a gun to the DFW Airport or Love Field Airport, don’t delay. The prosecution is already building their case against you. Call (214) 982-1408 for a free consultation or contact us online today.