While American citizens have certain rights to bear arms, each state has laws in place that govern how old you have to be to buy and possess a firearm, what types of firearms you can buy, who cannot possess a firearm (prohibited possessors), and where armed citizens can bring their firearms (bars, courthouses, and schools are big no-nos).
Under any circumstances can you bring a firearm into a US airport in California? According to USA Today, “Traveling [referring to airline travel] with a gun is legally permissible. Guns and ammunition must be kept in checked luggage. A gun and ammunition may not be in carry-on luggage. Firearms must be declared at check-in, unloaded, in a hard-sided locked container. The passenger must provide a key or combination to the container upon request and remain present as the firearm is being examined.”
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
You’re probably very familiar with TSA when you’re traveling via aircraft. They’re the security guards who put you through an X-ray machine at the airport, scan your carry-on bags, and see if you have any detectable metal on your body before you board an airplane.
On the TSA’s website, it explains in detail how travelers can transport “unloaded” firearms in hard-sided, locked containers as long as they are checked baggage; they cannot be transported in a person’s carry-on at any time. If you decide to bring a firearm to an airport, make sure the container is secure and it cannot be accessed. If you use a locked case that is easy to open, it will not be permitted by TSA.
What happens if someone is arrested for bringing a gun into a California airport because they failed to transport it according to TSA’s rules? Here’s your answer:
“To determine what happens to people arrested for bringing a gun to LAX, The Times analyzed court records for the 33 months from Jan. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2018, and found that most air travelers caught with a firearm were, like Henrie, charged with misdemeanors and received sentences that were much lighter than the maximum six months in jail, $1,000 in fines and other punishments that could be imposed.
“In addition, such offenders seldom face the maximum penalty that the TSA could dole out: up to $13,333 in civil fines and possible referral for a criminal prosecution,” the Los Angeles Times reported.