Congressman Wants To Fight For The Rights Of People Who Bring Guns To The Airport

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) has vowed to fight for people who bring firearms to the airport in their carry on bags.

The “Securing Air Travel Act (HR 6856) would,

  • Create a public awareness campaign that people can’t bring guns through security checkpoints

  • Increase penalties when they do so anyway

It calls for checkpoint signage, and even more signage at airports where people improperly bring the most guns. It calls for TSA websites, social media, and online video to highlight the need not to bring guns to security checkpoints. And it sets fines for repeat violations of up to $12,500, while allowing for mitigating factors (such as a passenger disclosing their mistake themselves before being caught).

It would also take PreCheck away from someone who brings a gun through a checkpoint, for a limited period of time and subject to reconsideration. PreCheck is supposed to be for people with very low likelihood of bringing anything harmful through a checkpoint, while someone that has improperly brought a gun (or tried to bring a gun) through a checkpoint isn’t low propensity to do so.

I believe that the second amendment clearly supports an individual right to gun ownership, and that Heller was rightly decided. I also believe that gun ownership entails a responsibility to know where your guns are (in most cases, locked in a gun safe when not being used).

So while I do not think someone accidentally bringing an unloaded firearm to an airport security checkpoint is a terrorist that should be immediately sent to Guantanamo, I do think they should be treated as having violated an important norm of gun ownership subject to consequences like progressive fines (and appropriate measures within state gun statutes consistent with constitutionally-permissible limits on guns).

That said, I’m more concerned about TSA failing to detect guns that go through scanners at airport checkpoints than people accidentally bringing guns through those checkpoints. And we haven’t seen instances of these guns brought through accidentally being used. So I’m not sure this law is at all necessary, but it doesn’t seem like something that needs a broad defense.

(HT: Paul H.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Thom Hartmann, the liberal talk radio commentator and author, makes a reasonable case that the Second Amendment was added to allow citizens (i.e. white males) to fend off Native Americans and put down slave revolts. At the time there was virtually no national army, so state militias were seen as necessary. Shay’s Rebellion, one of several serious tax revolts during this period, was probably on the minds of the authors too. Of course none of the writers were thinking of AK-47s or even semi-automatic handguns or they might not have been so vague in their wording. My opinion is that it is a badly written document, reversing the clauses so that its rationale and limits are obscured. Sadly, we’re stuck with it. But anyone who imagines their 30-30 is going to protect them from “the government” is seriously misinformed. They can start a new uprising like the Whiskey Rebellion and will be just as squashed.

  2. This guy is a pro-insurrection, pro-putin idiot. Let him go to Russia and spew his crap there.

  3. @drrichard: Yet Ukraine is handing out AK47s to its citizens to repel the Russians.

    But with your opinions on the Constitution, you are now limited to solely printing your thoughts on a hand operated press and handing the fliers out in the town square.

    Or would you just prefer to be known as a hypocrite?

  4. @Louise:

    One shouldn’t. But one shouldn’t forget and leave their phone behind either, but it happens.

    What your comments shows me is that you are not accustomed to carrying a gun with you everywhere you go.

    I spent a career as a cop and have LEOSA credentials so can continue to carry nationwide. While I have never forgotten that I had a gun with me when I shouldn’t, I can see how it happens.

  5. I think this is a good idea, I mean all the diversions due to unruly or intoxicated passengers who now have guns on a flight will make for even better videos.

    I wonder if the good people of Georgia are proud of their elected officials? Next election time shall tell.

  6. I travel lots ..
    I’m thinking maybe … a suggestion maybe a packing list that says ..
    Tops, Pants, shoes, toiletries,
    Charger, cables etc
    Oh and ……
    Leave gun at home
    Or a note buy the door/home exit
    Lower thermostat; lock doors; check stove
    And oh ….
    Leave gun at home ..
    I understand you’re accustomed to carrying a gun .. but don’t think it’s a viable reason to bring it to the airport .. thx for your understanding

  7. Can someone remind me again why it’s a problem if people bring guns on an airplane? They’re allowed to bring all sorts of other things…

    Seems like indiscriminate hypocrisy just the way they try and prevent to-go cocktails from being brought on planes? What’s next? It’s a slippery slope folks.

  8. The notion that AK-47s and AR-15s pose a credible threat to armies equipped with weapons like artillery, missiles and jet fighters is as laughable as the saying that the second amendment can not be infringed. Ukraine ain’t asking for more AKs.

  9. I am a born Atlantan. I also have a concealed weapon license and I am a commercial pilot. This clown State Representative thinks that one should get a slap on the hand for carrying a weapon through airport security. Hold on a second! Most people don’t know that it’s a federal offense to carry a weapon in a US Post Office…or even in the parking lot of a US Post Office! Look it up! One can’t even carry on property owned or managed by the U S Army Corps of Engineers, in a Federal office building, a church (without permission of the church’s governing body) or on school grounds unless one is dropping off or picking up a student! EVERYONE knows it’s illegal to carry a weapon through airport security. This guy is a nut case! Please don’t associate the average Georgian by this clown!

  10. Oh, and to Stephen W. As an airline pilot, “to go cocktails” are prohibited on airlines for several reasons. The airlines actually have a special liquor license valid for every State they overfly or serve onboard every aircraft. It’s one of the things we must ensure is in the proper location on the aircraft. It is illegal to bring alcoholic beverages aboard the aircraft as it violates most State liquor laws. In spite of flying the US flag on the tail, we also must adhere to the liquor laws of countries that we serve. It’s not as cut and dry as one might think.

  11. Does anybody on this site have a grade school education? So guns and gun ownership take over the rights of everyone else?
    F off or go to Russia and see what happens.
    You fucked up democracy and now you want f up the world.
    Go back to your wooden shacks and leave the rest of us alone.
    And stop touching your sisters.

  12. Never owned a gun, but after seeing what happened in Ukraine, I am going to buy lots.

    I hope every American buys guns, and a lot of ammo.
    After covid hysteria, lockdowns. We need to be ready to defend ourselves from the government.

  13. @Don thats why there are no fly lists for terrorists. You, “my friend” are as dangerous as the guys with the turbans yelling God is Great.

  14. Hey, Louise: kind of like when people “forget” they left a baby in the car.
    Blows my mind…..

  15. @Stephen: “I don’t like that part of the Constitution.”

    Don’t care. You don’t get to pick and choose which parts of the Constitution you like and those you don’t.

  16. Nearly all people who bring guns through airport security do so by accident because they carry 350 days a year they don’t travel. They have no criminal intent. No criminal intent= no crime in any sensible brain. These people should kindly be directed by tsa and or local or state cops to the airport exit where they can return home or have a loved one pick it up. Criminalizing innocent people who haven’t committed a real crime but one made up by bureaucrats and politicians does not make anyone safer and is not just.

    *When guns are not in use, they should be on one’s person where they can be used to stop violent attacks from carjackings (Philadelphia) to attempted rapes (attempted only because people have a means to defend themselves).

  17. @jackson I just want to be sure you actually mean this for everyone including people of color or people of all religions or does this just apply to white people. I somehow think you would have an issue if 4 Muslim guys accidentally showed up with guns.

  18. It’s not that hard to follow the law. Just check if you have your gun in your carry-on before you go through the checkpoint. This new law is very reasonable.
    As to why guns are dangerous on planes — might have been a troll question, but a single gunshot — accidental or on purpose — can depressurize the cabin if it makes a hole in the outer shell of the plane because of the low air pressure around the aircraft, and would thus cause devastating damage.

  19. @Gus: Afraid not. In fact, a bullet hole in a fuselage would have almost no effect whatsoever on the pressurization of the aircraft.

    Learn a little about pressurization and the size of the main outlet valve that is intended to allow inside air to vent during flight:

  20. Gary, you are the master at throwing a bone in the yard and seeing the dogs all react. It is always fun to read the comments. In fact, so much so that it is a wonderful by-product of the 1st amendment of our Constitution. That document gives Americans rights. This includes free speech (Although I know you can edit comments on your own blog due to just that very right). It is also important that we have the 2nd amendment that helps secure the other amendments. We need to protect our rights to free speech (we are seeing how that can be impacted in Russia right now), we need to protect the rights of people not to be enslaved or unreasonable searches in the 4th amendment. This congressman is trying to defeat a bill that was introduced by a liberal democrat from New Jersey. A state with severely restrictive gun laws. She wants to introduce a bill that will spend a bunch of money on advertising and social media. As if the TSA doesn’t already have enough posters, Instagram accounts, or whatever. Heck, the majority of TSA agents aren’t even qualified to carry a gun for law enforcement purposes. I would fight and die in the streets to defend @RD and @drrichards rights to believe in the Steele Dossier or that our forefathers didn’t understand what guns would be used for. But I would also fight and die in the streets to defend the 2nd amendment as well. And I’ll bet Mrs. Watson Coleman from NJ would show up on her social media with an AR or AK if the Russians invaded even if she wouldn’t fight to defend my rights today.

  21. Not that I’m taking a side on this issue but can anyone define “A well regulated Militia” as stated in the Second Amendment? It is actually defined in the United States Code and it might be worth reading.

    And, if you want intent of the Founding Fathers regarding the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution, the protections are actually included in the collection of documents the British called their “constitution.” At the time of the Revolution, these protections had been a matter of law for hundreds of years and were well understood by the Founding Fathers. Among the grievances that spurred the Revolution, the British army was not abiding by those protections. The Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution was an assurance that the protections afforded by the British “constitution” would be carried forward into the new nation. It was not a new invention.

  22. We already have this in Texas. You can read about it here: We also have campus carry.

    I don’t think the legislation proposed in GA is a big deal. Due to these LTC benefits, I haven’t seen any insanity arise at Texas airport due to this, nor any gunfights break out on public college campuses. I carry every day as a professor, including at work (i.e., on-campus). There are even days I travel to the airport directly from campus with my firearm in my briefcase. I have not once forgotten to remove the firearm and place it in my truck’s lockbox. However, I can see how someone might inadvertently do so.

    Guns are a part of many’s daily lives in America. The law proposed law in GA is reasonable, like the laws we have here in TX. To those who are unfamiliar with the licensing process, license holders are law-abiding citizens. We have our backgrounds checked frequently.

    What y’all need to be concerned about is law enforcement. There are many laws in the book already. We need to hold criminals accountable for their crimes and actually prosecute violent individuals to the fullest extent of the law. It is absurd that people want to punish those who make an honest mistake over those who literally burn down buildings or harm police officers.

  23. Absolutely support this. We need to get over the idea that we leave our Constitutional rights at the door of the airport and return not only the 2nd Amendment, but the 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

  24. @RenoJoe These arguments have been considered and rejected by no less an authority than the US Supreme Court, which has conclusively decided based upon the entire text and meaning of the 2nd Amendment, that we are all guaranteed an individual right to possess firearms independent of service in a state militia and to use firearms for traditionally lawful purposes, including self-defense within the home.

  25. Reading the postings from the gun nuts is pretty funny. ahow many of these gun nuts are white dudes? How many would change their tune if the people with guns are people of color or Muslims. I would guess 100% in both cases. This law would never be equally applied especially in red states.

  26. @RD: “gun nuts”

    What part of California do you live in?

    You have the nerve to call others racist?

    I bet you think of yourself as enlightened. You are just ignorant.

  27. @1kbrad or is is @kkkbrad? You are just another racist white #MAGAt gun nut. Maybe if you had a bigger dick you wouldn’t need a gun to prove your manhood.

  28. @RD Reading the postings from the gun nuts is pretty funny. ahow many of these gun nuts are white dudes? How many would change their tune if the people with guns are people of color or Muslims.

    In actual fact, the modern gun rights movement was begun by the Huey Newton and the Black Panthers who fought for their right to carry guns into the California State Capital in Sacramento while Ronald Reagan was Governor. Thinking that gun rights are only of concern to “white people” ignores history and the fact that most of the people in prison for simple gun possession are not white. Gun rights are civil rights, for everybody.

  29. After reading some of these comments, I’ve concluded that there are a whole lot of frequent flyers I would be afraid to have on a plane I am on. One has to be a true screwball to believe that they have a constitutional right to bring a gun on a flight.

  30. @JimC You might consider it ‘screwball’ to bring a gun on a flight, but do you think 9/11 could have happened if passengers were armed? Only in a situation where passengers are totally unarmed can people with a few boxcutters take control of an aircraft and fly them into buildings. Which is more ‘screwball.’

  31. @JimC: You don’t see the difference between advocating for carrying firearms on airplanes, which is stupid, and advocating for the lack of penalties for negligently bringing a firearm to a security checkpoint?

  32. @kkkbrad its like driving drunk versus being passed out with the engine running. Guns have no business being in an airport. If someone breaks the law they deserve the consequences.

  33. @RD: Being passed out with the engine running is not negligence.

    Having a firearm at a security checkpoint can be negligent. We do not usually criminally penalize negligence as there is no mens rea.

    Since TSA is perfect, they will never miss a firearm anyway, so what’s the big deal?

    Oh, that’s right. You hate guns. Are you ever going to hate the Supreme Court decision next June in NYRPC v. Bruen. You’ll have to hide your head under your pillow when the Court decides that the right to bear arms means what it says. Oh, the horrors. People around you in public carrying guns! Your life will be at risk!

    Whatever will you do?

  34. Guns don’t have a place in commercial aviation. Your right to own a gun is not interfered with by prohibiting guns in airports and on airlines. Don’t like it, don’t fly. Really easy

  35. Nobody accidentally brings a gun through TSA. Packing a gun in a bag is an intentional act not an accidental one as is strapping a gun on your body before going to the airport. When passengers are removing metal objects from their persons before going through security, it is hard to believe someone would forget about the gun on their person.

  36. There is no requirement that someone intend to violate a law to be held criminally liable and violating the law through negligence or mistake is no defense.

  37. @ Jackson Waterston

    Criminal intent? You’re driving car and run somebody over. Of course, you never intended to kill anybody. You are still charged with manslaughter for negligent driving. Get it?

    @ 1K Brad

    Gun nuts are exactly that. Simply nuts. I can understand why you needed to carry a gun when working as a cop and no doubt the community is very grateful for your faithful and brave service to the people.

    That said, and respecting this issue have a very complex and chequered legal history – why do feel the need to pack a firearm as an individual as you go about your daily routine? Just to prove a presumed legal constitutional right? That would be so dumb as deliberately disseminating hatred based commentary just because you want to prove your right to some notion of freedom of speech.

    Are you living in fear?

    Don’t you feel safe in your own community?

    How is living in constant fear of being blown away from the next dude you pass in the street a healthy state of affairs, dare one suggest a hallmark of an uncivilised and regressive society too anchored to the past to accept change?

    As I like too say, MAGBA – Make America Great Britain Again.

  38. @platy — Right on . Some of the cops are more dangerous and mentally unstable than the criminals.

  39. @ JimC

    I’ve been on an aircraft when somebody completely lost it and had to be cable tied by multiple crew members and then eventually sedated and taken off the aircraft upon arrival by two law officers. It was a long and scary flight. Add guns to that scenario and they’d have been a disaster.

    The idea that somebody’s “freedom” to carry a firearm should come at the expense of somebody else’s safety or life is absolutely mental.

    Somebody who is so dumb that they could “forget” that they are carrying a firearm when accessing the Secure Area of an airport clearly lacks the intelligence and responsibility to be carrying a weapon that can so easily be used to kill multiple innocent people in the first place.

    But hey, apparently, we are supposed to believe, in the opinions of some, that the Constitution’s intent was to defend the right to such irrational behavior, rather than to form an organised fighting force in the formative times of a modern nation’s birth.

    MAGBA – Make America Great Britain again.

  40. @ Louise says:How do you ACCIDENTLY FORGET YOU’RE carrying a gun???????

    Because they are Terrible Gun Owners who do not act responsible. What states does the TSA find all these guns mostly? Do these same people “accidently” bring their guns into the US Capital also? How about into court rooms? Into Elementary Schools?

    Put a IDIOT tax on all new gun sales and use that the educate them to keep it home locked in a box so a kid can not blow off their brother’s head or bring it to the airport.
    Denver International
    Phoenix Sky Harbor International
    Mccarran International
    Dallas/Fort Worth International
    Salt Lake City International

  41. I’m all for responsible lawful gun ownership. The problem is people bringing firearms through airport security are not responsible gun owners. The firearm should be seized, they should be prosecuted and they should lose pre-check. It boggles my mind that some gun owners lose track of their firearms soo easily. That being said if someone realizes they have a firearm and legitimately discloses it before being caught I don’t think there should be any penalty other than seizure of the firearm unless they have someone there to take custody of it or they leave the airport with it. Only complete idiots think people should be allowed to carry firearms on to planes vs checking them in baggage.

  42. “We need to be ready to defend ourselves from the government.” People who run around making statements like this are the very people who should not be allowed to have firearms.

  43. Going to agree with @Win here. Despite various State laws that specify the contingencies associated with carrying a firearm (or acquiring a firearm, or owning a firearm), there is good reason why the U.S. – at a federal level – has prohibitions to the carrying on a person as it pertains to airports: air piracy.

    It may be fruitful for some of the commenters here to spend a brief amount of time researching the history of hijacking in the U.S.

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