Starting June 1, 2016, any guns carried through TSA checkpoints in Georgia will be subject to confiscation of the firearm, a $100,000 fine, and up to a year in prison.
The state of Georgia will soon become the second state to penalize gun owners for bringing guns through TSA checkpoints starting June 1, 2016. This penalty will result in confiscation of the firearm, a fine of $100,000, and a minimum of a year in prison. A second offense would result in a $200,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.
Here's more about the updated statute from Atlanta-Journal Constitution:
The punishment for those people charged with a federal misdemeanor when a TSA agent finds a gun in their carry-on luggage is up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine. People without gun carry permits will continue to be charged with a felonies under state law. Individuals with permits can still carry guns in the airport's public spaces.
Special Agent in Charge at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Britt Johnson told 11Alive, "The real intent is just to deter people from entering the checkpoint with a weapon to begin with."
Johnson said most of these cases involved gun owners who accidentally forgot to remove their firearm from bags. Previously, those who forgot their firearms were told to return to their cars and secure it. Now, the feds will be enforcing a statute making even accidental cases like this a crime.
"It does create an opportunity to test the system. So if you know that having a permit you're just going to be turned away, you're not going to be charged. The criminals and terrorists know how to identify those vulnerabilities as well," Johnson said.
According to the original report, TSA screeners at Hartsfield-Jackson confiscated 113 firearms last year. This year, only 48 have been confiscated.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has already enforced a similar law in the state of Texas.
Law-abiding gun owners will comply with the TSA as needed, but this statute could potentially criminalize those with concealed carry permits who wish to travel with their firearms. We shall see how this plays out.