Airport Weapons Offenses
The state and federal governments have become increasingly concerned about airport safety in recent years. The result is that flying has become more unpredictable. Unless you look into the current laws before your trip, it’s easy to accidentally bring prohibited items to the airport. In most cases, travelers can sort out whatever new regulations are in place at the airport; however, that is not the case when it comes to weapons. At the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy, our Boston criminal defense attorney aggressively defends clients charged with airport weapons offenses. With his help, you can clear up any misunderstandings and work towards putting your arrest in your past so you can move on with your life.Is It Illegal to Bring Weapons into the Airport?
Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section 12F, it is against the law to carry cutting devices and “prohibited weapons” into the secure area of an airport or onto a plane. A cutting device is defined as “any knife, cutlery, straight razor, box cutter or other device containing a fixed, folding or retractable blade.” For example, a pocket knife is considered a cutting device. Prohibited weapons include handguns, rifles, shotguns, double-edged blades, switchblade knives, and stun guns.
Walking into the airport with a cutting device or a prohibited weapon, however, isn’t enough to violate the law. You need to either enter or attempt to enter the secure area of the airport or the passenger cabin of a plane. This would be the point where you pass through the TSA screening agents.
Section 12F does not apply in the following situations:
- Law enforcement officers and government workers who carry weapons in their official capacity;
- Someone transporting a licensed weapon in their luggage, provided they notified the airline; and
- Employees who are on the clock and carry a cutting device that is used for their job.
However, to be convicted of this crime, you do not necessarily have to have any criminal intentions; the fact that you knowingly carried a knife or prohibited weapon into an airport or onto a plane is enough for the government to bring charges—and possibly convict you. Further, the fact that you are legally permitted to carry a weapon has no bearing on the government’s ability to bring a case against you.Punishments for Carrying a Weapon on a Plane
If you are arrested or charged for bringing or attempting to bring a weapon into the airport or onto a plane, the punishment can be severe. Massachusetts law provides three scenarios, each with a different punishment.
Occupying or attempting to occupy the secure area of an airport while knowingly carrying a prohibited weapon is punishable by up to 2.5 years in a house of correction or five years in state prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Additionally, if you have the “intent to commit a felony” when bringing a weapon into the airport, the crime becomes more serious, and you’ll face an additional punishment of up to 2 years in a house of correction or five years in state prison, as well as a fine of up to $5,000.
Finally, anyone who “willfully and without regard for the safety of human life, or with reckless disregard for the safety of human life” while bringing a weapon into an airport or plane faces up to 20 years in state prison and a fine of as much as $20,000.Are You Facing an Airport Weapon Crime?
If you have recently been arrested and charged with carrying a weapon into Boston Logan or onto a plane, your case will likely be heard at the East Boston Division of the Boston Municipal Court, and it is imperative that you have a skilled criminal defense at your side from the very beginning. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy regularly represents clients facing all types of gun crimes, including airport weapons offenses. He can quickly determine the best possible defenses and develop a compelling strategy designed to minimize your exposure. To learn more about how the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy can help you with your case, and to schedule a free consultation, call 617-367-0450 today.