Pennsylvania Lawmaker Comes Up With New Way for You to Lose Your 2A Rights

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Over the past few years the Transportation Security Administration has found an increasing number of guns in carry-on luggage, though it’s hard to tell if that’s because the agency has gotten better at detecting them, more flyers are inadvertently (or intentionally) bringing their firearms with them to the airport, or a combination of the two.


You’re gonna have a really bad time if TSA does discover a pistol in your carry-on; at the very least, you’re probably going to miss your flight and you very well could be subjected to a fine or (in some states) criminal charges. In Pennsylvania, one Democratic lawmaker is hoping to crack down on those forgetful or absent-minded travelers by revoking their carry licenses if they’re caught with a gun in their baggage.

State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, is introducing the TSA Firearm Compliance Act, a measure that would revoke the concealed carry permits of anyone who is caught with a firearm at a TSA checkpoint.

“It’s time to look at solutions with teeth, which could serve to prevent these dangerous events from happening, and also identify firearm owners who may not be qualified to carry a deadly weapon in public,” Frankel said. “This legislation is not designed to punish the majority of responsible gun owners but to crack down on the irresponsible ones whose actions put fellow travelers at risk.

“It’s time to send the minority of bad actors a message they will hear loud and clear – transport your firearm safely or risk losing your permit to carry.”

I can think of one big issue with this already; not everyone caught with a pistol in their luggage is a concealed carry holder. In fact, while Frankel doesn’t point to any hard data, my guess is that the majority of those who forget to remove their gun from their bags before heading to the airport aren’t licensed to carry them at all. Concealed carry rates vary from state-to-state, but according to Dr. John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center, about 10 percent of U.S. adults have a carry permit, and in almost every state there are more gun owners who don’t have a carry license than those who do.


Why should concealed carry holders be singled out for additional punishment? Frankel is taking a page from U.S. Attorney Eric Olshan, who announced a couple of months ago that Pennsylvania sheriffs would “consider” revoking carry permits for those caught with a firearm in their carry-on, but there are already some sheriffs who say they won’t be taking that step unless there are other factors at play.

Allegheny County Sheriff Kevin Kraus said he will only revoke a concealed carry permit when someone is caught at the airport with a gun if there is a law to back up his decision.

“I will revoke a license to carry a firearm if it meets the statutory criteria for a revocation,” he said in a written statement to the Trib. “I review each case on an individual basis to determine if any additional factors are relevant for consideration to grant a revocation request.”

He will not cancel a permit if the only reason is punishment.

“If I’m requested to revoke a permit as a deterrent, such action would appear to be punitive, and I do not believe that is good government policy,” Kraus said.

Kraus said that county sheriffs can revoke a permit when someone brings a gun into a school or court building because the law prohibits guns in those locations.

Without adding airports to that law, people who lose their permit for that reason could argue that a sheriff doesn’t have the legal right to revoke their permit, Kraus said.

“That type of revocation would be overturned on appeal,” he said.


Not if Dan Frankel has his way.

The problem isn’t irresponsible concealed carry holders, but (generally speaking) forgetful gun owners. Singling out a group that’s far more law-abiding than the general population seems like a really dumb way to address the issue, but then again, the same could be said for virtually every policy proposal that comes from the gun control lobby and their allies.

Regardless of whatever legislation they’re proposing, do yourself a favor and leave a few minutes to make sure your carry-ons are free of any firearms and ammunition when flying. You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle and possibly even thousands of dollars in fines, whether or not you’re a concealed carry licensee.

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