Gun-packing Atlanta air travelers land in jail

(Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

(Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

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Monday was a busy day for Transportation Security Administration agents on the lookout for weapons at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Within a two-hour period, agents confiscated three guns from travelers and police arrested them, , according to Channel 2 Action News.

So far this year, TSA agents have confiscated 87 guns at the airport, one of the busiest in the nation. By comparison, 69 guns were taken from travelers last year at Hartsfield-Jackson.

According to the TSA website:

Travelers may only transport unloaded firearms in a locked, hard-sided container in or as checked baggage. All firearms, ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames and receivers, are prohibited in carry-on baggage.

Sheryl Rexrode was arrested around 10:45 a.m. Monday after agents discovered a .380-caliber handgun in her carry-on. An hour later, Derek Morgan was arrested after he was found with a .32-caliber handgun, which his father said Morgan had forgotten to take out of his bag. Another handgun, a .380-caliber weapon, was discovered shortly afterward in traveler Wendy Parker’s bag.

“It was absolutely a mistake. She’s a sales rep,” Parker’s attorney, Jay Jackson, told Channel 2. “She brings the gun with her in her bag when she’s in her territory. She’s a woman just trying to make sure she’s safe.”

All three travelers were taken into custody and charged with carrying a weapon in unauthorized locations. Bonds ranged from $5,000 to $10,000.

Is there any circumstance under which you think travelers should be allowed to have a gun in a carry-on on a commercial flight?

214 comments Add your comment

Meli

December 5th, 2012
12:31 pm

If Hartsfield-Jackson and Clayton County want to stop this, they should stop allowing the excuse of ‘I forgot the gun was in my luggage’ and start charging these people with terrorism, the same as we would charge someone who deliberately tried to smuggle a machine gun. If people realized they could actually spend several weeks in a real prison instead of a county jail, they would make sure they ‘remembered’ the gun was in their bag and remove it before packing.

Anonymous

December 5th, 2012
12:44 pm

Meli:

You are an Idiot.

Machine Guns are Legal Georgia as are Virtually ALL other Firearms.

I also Bet that You also have no Idea that United States Federal Law and Georgia Law BOTH Allow Firearms in The Airport, provided; that Firearms that Enter into The Concourse have to be Checked as Luggage Pursuant to Federal Law,

The United States Federal Government Controls ONLY that Portion of The Airport which is known as The Concourse, but Georgia Law Controls The Terminals and The Parking Lot.

Carrying a Weapon or a Long Gun in an Unauthorized Location DOES NOT Include Firearms at Airports, because The Legislature Authorized Firearms on Public Transportation Terminals under Georgia Code 16-11-126(g), BUT The Code Section is Used when a Person Enters into that Portion of The Airport with a Firearm or a Weapon, which is ‘Restricted’ (The Concourses) by Federal Law.

EVC

December 5th, 2012
12:48 pm

People need to be more aware of security requirements when they go into the airport. Mentally spacing out and forgetting a firearm is in their carry on baggage isn’t going to get any sympathy from the TSA or other airport authorities. Being arrested and charged for bail, then the later problematic court appearance which will result in a conviction and fine just isn’t worth the pain and labor!! Be smart!!

Wendy

December 5th, 2012
12:50 pm

I have no issue with people checking unloaded weapons but under no circumstances should weapons be allowed in carry on bags in a commercial flight.

Anonymous

December 5th, 2012
12:53 pm

EVC:

A Person who can Legally Possess a Firearm CAN take a Firearm Actually into The Airport on onto Airport Property, however; They Simply CANNOT take it with Them to or while at or past The TSA Checkpoint.

To put it another way: A Man, with a Firearm at The Ticket Counter, The Shoe Shine Booth, or The Restaurants or Banks or Currency Conversion Center is NOT Committting a Crime.

BUT…., The same Man Suddenly Commits a Crime if He takes that Firearm with Him to or past The TSA Checkpoint that Seperates The Terminal from The Concourse.

Ward

December 5th, 2012
12:58 pm

Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people. I hope Georgia’s carry law – and all others like it – is repealed or overturned. The right to bear arms has been affirmed by the Supreme Court, so you are allowed to. But keep them at home, locked away from your kids, and don’t take them somewhere that you can shoot me. I’m not armed!

SouthernLadyGA

December 5th, 2012
1:10 pm

I do not believe these people “really forgot” they had a gun in their carryon…time to start fining them to the max.

If they truly forgot …they should not be allowed to own a gun!

Larry Hatcher

December 5th, 2012
1:14 pm

Carrying a gun requires you to not forget you have it on your person.

pistolpete

December 5th, 2012
1:19 pm

As a frequent flier and gun toter I have had that sinking feeling that there might me a gun in my laptop bag from a road trip, I have stopped in the check in area a few times to go through my bag, I have a place I secure my pistol in my truck when parked at airport and double check it when I am leaving.

Imon Lylooking

December 5th, 2012
1:23 pm

Taking a gun to an airport that clearly does not allow guns is selfish. When individuals make the decision to pack a gun into their carryon luggage, and when they are caught, they divert resources away from agencies that are actually charged with providing a safe travel experience: the TSA and the local police.

If a traveler wants to carry a gun, purportedly it is not for use in a safe airport, but instead for use at their end destination. Here’s a simple, and unselfish solution: ship the gun (unloaded, of course), and, if shipping the ammunition is illegal, simply buy some when you arrive at your destination. More complex, yes; selfish, no.

According to accepted economic theory, we all act in accord with individual greatest utility. If that is true, and within reason, it seems to be, then an incentive needs to be applied to prevent increasing numbers of guns showing up at checkpoints. Alternatives include, as Meli indicated, real prison time, or stiff fines. I think stiff, very stiff, fines are the right approach.

JR

December 5th, 2012
1:23 pm

No Ward, EVIL people with guns kill people. Guess, what? You take the gun away from them, they’re still evil. And they’e still going to find a way to kill people. And probably in a more efficient way that using a firearm.

9/11 and Oklahoma City were the 2 worst mass killings in US history. And the worst mass killing at a school in the US happened in Bath, MI in 1927. NONE of those involved guns. If the perps in those cases had only used guns, there likely would have been fewer deaths.

dar

December 5th, 2012
1:24 pm

Anonymous

Why carry a gun to the Airport anyway, just because you can? That’s exactly what’s wrong with society today. I will do this and that, because I can, that get’s people in a lot of trouble.

SK

December 5th, 2012
1:29 pm

Yes, people who are dumb enough to try and bring guns on any airplane in this day and age, should be subject to a short prison term (no life snetences please) of 12-18 months to make sure that they have a stiff reminder to never do it again.

JR

December 5th, 2012
1:32 pm

Hey dar, it’s sort of difficult to check a firearm if you don’t first bring it into the airport. Duh!

Don't Tread

December 5th, 2012
1:39 pm

“Why carry a gun to the Airport anyway, just because you can?”

Why post on a blog, just because you can?

It’s called “individual rights”…something lefties abhor greatly when others exercise them.

Back on topic…While I’m all for individual rights, carrying a gun onto the passenger cabin of an airplane is a bad idea simply because the consequences of a miss (or misfire) outweigh the benefits. Checking it is also a bad idea (although legal) due to the fact that many things of value in checked baggage seem to magically disappear by the time you reclaim it at your destination, and there is no way for you to tell who is the guilty party.

Shipping it insured to yourself or someone trustworthy is a better option…you have legal recourse if your gun comes up missing in transit.

George

December 5th, 2012
1:43 pm

Hell no no guns on the plane please . What in the hell for

JFKDawg

December 5th, 2012
1:46 pm

You can’t be serious? Board a plane with a weapon? Are you insane? Not only should they be arrested but beaten about the head and shoulders for being stupid enough to bring one to the airport. At least taze them a few times, damn.

Tag

December 5th, 2012
1:47 pm

It only makes sens that small caliber Hand guns say up to and including 45 caliber and sawed off shot guns should be allowed on planes to handle unruly Attendants or Pilots.

wtf

December 5th, 2012
1:47 pm

Don’t taze me bro.

Shar

December 5th, 2012
1:48 pm

The only travelers who should carry guns on a commercial aircraft are air marshals.

If you are too stupid and careless to remember that you have a lethal weapon in your carryon, you are too stupid and careless to own one.

However, I’d rather not pay to imprison such stupid and careless people. Unless there is any reason to believe that the gun was being brought on board on purpose, a huge fine is the appropriate punishment for such reckless disregard for public wellbeing.

Astrid

December 5th, 2012
1:48 pm

Right on, Meli! And Anonymous, like all “anonymouses” YOU are an idiot.

Shar

December 5th, 2012
1:49 pm

And their carry license should be revoked. Stupid and careless people should not be entrusted with guns.

Chuck

December 5th, 2012
1:50 pm

Yes,you should be able to carry a firearm. However, If you “forget” that you are, you have no business owning one.

BubblesB

December 5th, 2012
1:51 pm

If the passenger isn’t an air marshall, there is absolutly no reason to carry a firearm on a commercial jet. That’s all we need – OK Coral in the sky.

CC

December 5th, 2012
1:52 pm

if you forget your firearm, then you should be excorted out not arrested. To be arrested is stupid as common sense left long ago.

donna nations

December 5th, 2012
1:53 pm

Maybe they should pass out guns to all passengers boarding a plane. Then we would all be protected and able to defend ourselves by shooting back. In these days and times you have to look after yourself!

CC

December 5th, 2012
1:54 pm

I agree, Donna Nations.

WHO SHOT JR

December 5th, 2012
1:55 pm

JR writes: “You take the gun away from them, they’re still evil. And they’e still going to find a way to kill people. And probably in a more efficient way that using a firearm.”

Really? What kind of methods are you thinking about here? I’m inclined to take the guns away and let the “evil” people find some other way to do their damage. You gun nuts are always yammering on about how you can kill someone with a knife, a brick, etc., just as easily as you can with a gun, and I ask, why the hell don’t you just carry a brick around? That would make me a lot more confortable sharing a society with you.

By the way, on the idea that only “evil” people kill people with guns: just recently a friend of a friend (34 y.o.) was shot to death by the drunken ex-husband of his girlfriend, who was blacked out drunk and didn’t even remember shooting the guy, much less his “reason” for doing so. I’m sure he considered himself a completely responsible gun owner and thought he had a “right” to deadly force.

Chuck

December 5th, 2012
1:55 pm

@ Anonymous, Very well said!

mary

December 5th, 2012
1:59 pm

If you can’t remember that you’re carrying a gun, you should be able to own one.

markie mark

December 5th, 2012
1:59 pm

@Dont tread – the law is that you unload the gun, declare the gun, & they place a red tag in your luggage with it, and they visually inspect the luggage to make sure it is lockable and hardsided so thieves cannot steal the gun (they can steal the entire suitcase, but thats a problem for another day). As a legal licensed gun owner, I do not want guns in the cabin (even in Air Police’ hands ) because of pressurized cabins….Stun guns, etc, can do the job without blowing a hole in the airplane…

Dork Squad

December 5th, 2012
2:01 pm

People who forget or accidentally carry guns into airports are in fact jerks who despise the Government and think the laws don’t apply to them. They consider the Constitution the best read ever, and want to turn this country back in time. Throw the bums in jail and let them bond out on a minimum 10k cash bond.
That’ll teach the little ***holes to test the Government.

she-boone

December 5th, 2012
2:02 pm

I can see this easily happening…I’m a CWP holder and carry, but I always double check that I don’t have a weapon in any of my bags before leaving my car. I did, once, travel with a few rounds of ammo, but it went undetected thankfully.

spfuller

December 5th, 2012
2:03 pm

Easy fix and in some cases this does happen, however, there is some discretion currently involved. In order to legally carry the weapon in a concealed manner in the first place, they must have a “carry permit.” All of these situations revolve around carrying a concealed weapon in some sort of carry on luggage. Georgia law should require the loss of their “carry permit” without discretion in such cases. They will never forget about their concealed weapon again. In order to have a “carry permit,” they must be able to show the responsibility necessary to justify that permit.

markie mark

December 5th, 2012
2:05 pm

@ Who shot JR – Societal laws are not made based on aberrations, but on the norm. I am sorry for what happened to your friend, but to base a law that is one of the founding principles of this nation on something that happens, while sad, to a tiny miniscule proportion of our citizenry, is asinine. And speaking of ex boyfriends, husbands, etc. I will never understand a woman’s anti gun viewpoint. The only defense a 105 lb woman has against a 200 lb (or 165 or….) ex is to be trained and able to use a firearm to defend herself.

Rich

December 5th, 2012
2:06 pm

Ah right, the same old tired “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” And how MANY people could the average individual with a mid-life crisis kill without a gun, compared to the same individual without one? (See the Batman movie incident earlier this year – 12 innocents dead from a washed out PhD candidate). Let’s call a spade a spade folks – Guns have one intended purpose only – to cause bodily HARM. If you’re mad at your wife, don’t take it out on me. Gun-nuts who bring guns as a CARRY-ON to the airport are asking for it! Period.

markie mark

December 5th, 2012
2:07 pm

spfuller – agreed.

Luny

December 5th, 2012
2:08 pm

Everytime i go to the airport to pick someone up, I usually meet them at baggage claim and I make it a point to open carry. I have a valid GA Firearms License, and it’s legal to do so. As far as firearms on a plane? Nope, can’t support that.

clay

December 5th, 2012
2:09 pm

Guns do not belong in any airport or on ANY passenger plane. Blows my mind that people still forget about 9/11.

Alphare

December 5th, 2012
2:13 pm

Yes, Donna, I 100% agree.

It should be a federal requirement for restaurants/airports/courts/schools etc to have guns ready. Every one should be handed one before entering any public places so that we are all self-protected.

WHO SHOT JR

December 5th, 2012
2:15 pm

Markie: I do not believe that the incident I mentioned represents an “aberration,” just as I don’t agree that the Constitution guarantees your right to carry around a device intended only to cause grievous harm to people.

You gun nuts are masters of selective reading, both of recent events and the Constitution. Every time someone shoots themselves or a loved one, every time kid kills some other kid while playing with the gun that their parents foolishly kept for “protection,” every time some freak kills a kid over “loud music,” every time some psycho mows down innocents in a movie theater, you can count on the gun crowd’s knee-jerk reaction: “but that’s an aberration!” I’m not buying it: uncontrolled violence and carnage are not an aberration in the society that you advocate for, but are instead it’s bottom line.

*~_L_~*

December 5th, 2012
2:16 pm

A gun on the plane may have stop 9-11……

Alphare

December 5th, 2012
2:17 pm

Luny,

I have to disagree with you. Everybody on an air plane should be armed with a gun. We should start with kids in kindergarten once they can lift up a gun. Little people are more vulnerable and especially need self-protection, you know.

WHO SHOT JR

December 5th, 2012
2:18 pm

Luny writes: “Everytime i go to the airport to pick someone up, I usually meet them at baggage claim and I make it a point to open carry.”

Wow, your devotion to the public good is almost Christlike. Thank you SO MUCH for endangering me and my family in the baggage claim area. I’m glad to sacrifice my sense of safety for your juvenile sense of phallic empowerment.

Anon

December 5th, 2012
2:18 pm

Meli-

You are one of the most ignorant people I have come across in recent memory, with people like you voting its no wonder our country is in the shape it is.

Reality

December 5th, 2012
2:21 pm

A rationally thinking person would recognize that it is stupid to allow guns in airports or on airplanes.

However, this is Georgia. We are not raional at all. So, let everyone have guns everywhere. Let a gunfight break out in the airport or in a middle school, or in a church. This seems to be what Georgia wants…

David Puddy

December 5th, 2012
2:22 pm

Clearly, this is Obama’s fault due to his pandering of folks who don’t work and his ‘tax the rich’ schtik.

kimmer

December 5th, 2012
2:23 pm

@meli: Charge them with terrorism? Really? Why stop there. Charge the people who try to carry more than 3 oz of liquid or forget about a pocket knife too. After all, 911 was accomplished with box cutters! Believe me, for an ordinarily law abiding citizen, to have to go through the humiliation and inconvenience of being publicly arrested and hauled off to jail is prevention enough. I’ll bet for those that it happens to they don’t forget again. Out of the millions of air travelers what is the percentage of people who mistakenly leave a firearm in their bag? I’ll bet its less than 0.0001% It is so low that anytime it happens it makes the news so it sounds like the current laws are deterrent enough.

Alphare

December 5th, 2012
2:24 pm

Anon,

people in Pakistan and Afghanistan can have guns anywhere as I know of. I even saw pictures of people carrying guns on their back while eating. No wonder they are more advanced than us.

RGB

December 5th, 2012
2:24 pm

“… If you “forget” that you are, you have no business owning one.”

Ever forget to turn off your cell phone before you enter a church (excludes the secular left) or business?

People who carry concealed weapons do so on a daily basis and forget they are even carrying. This is especially true for the caliber of weapons noted in the story: they are light, concealable “purse guns”. These people are not using their weapons to harm others, rather they simply forgot.

If you were to think about it, you’d realize that these people are likely above average in terms of their obeying the law since a carry permit requires a GBI background check. So they aren’t plagued with arrest records and mental deficiencies, which contrasts with most anti-Second Amendment liberals.

This doesn’t excuse them from the legal consequences, but those here who lambast people who forget to disarm are the same ones whose cell phones ring inappropriately and who couldn’t find their turn signal indicator with instructions and a 15 minute headstart.