New Frankel bill would protect air travelers, TSA workers from gun transport dangers

Would crack down on gun owners who illegally bring weapons through airport baggage checkpoints

HARRISBURG, Dec. 26 – Air travelers, airport workers and security officers would be better protected from an alarmingly common travel risk – loaded firearms illegally transported through carry-on luggage – under soon-to-be-introduced legislation drafted by state Rep. Dan Frankel.

Frankel, D-Allegheny, said he is introducing the legislation – which would penalize gun owners who illegally bring firearms into TSA baggage checkpoints by revoking their permit to carry – to address a deadly risk that persists in airports despite increased fines, warning signs and other preventive measures.

“Each year, thousands of air travelers, airport workers and TSA officers face unnecessary danger because of gun owners who attempt to bring firearms through carry-on luggage checkpoints,” Frankel said. “The statistics are alarming – last year, TSA seized about 6,500 guns, and nearly 90% of them were loaded. The owners’ response in 100% of the cases was ‘I forgot.’

“Loaded weapons at baggage checkpoints not only create obvious safety risks, but they cause major airport delays, drain TSA resources and distract security officers from other dangers that could compromise flight safety.

“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. Responsible gun owners don’t forget that they are carrying a loaded weapon or require TSA intervention to stop them from attempting to board airplanes while armed. 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.”

Frankel noted that gun owners have a safe and simple means of transporting weapons under the law, which allows for unloaded weapons to be transported through checked baggage in locked, hard-shell containers.