Concealed Weapon in Carry on Luggage at the AirportThe Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CTL) is one of the busiest airports in the country. It is also an airport where the laws on carrying a gun into the airport are taken very seriously. People who violate the laws can have their guns confiscated and may be arrested. This can result in very serious consequences for a person’s life once he has completed his sentence, including the loss of his gun, the loss of his permit to carry a gun, and a permanent criminal record. To prevent an inadvertent mistake turning into a disastrous criminal situation, you should know the gun laws at the CTL airport if you plan to travel with a gun.

What Are the Laws on Carrying a Gun at the CTL Airport?

North Carolina is a concealed carry state, which means that a resident can carry a concealed weapon in many places throughout the state. In order to carry a gun, a person must obtain a Pistol Purchase Permit or a Concealed Handgun Permit. However, even with this permit, he must follow specific North Carolina and federal laws when carrying a gun into the CTL airport. It is unlawful to carry the following into the CTL airport under state law:

  • A gun or other weapon designed to propel a missile or projectile of any kind
  • Frame, receiver, muzzle, silencer, projectile, or ammunition designed to be used with a dangerous weapon
  • Any other dangerous weapon, such as a stun gun or explosives

There are exceptions to this rule that allow guns to be brought into the airport. These include the following:

  • Police officers, sheriffs, law enforcement agents, conservation police officers, conservators of the peace employed by the airport, and certain retired police officers are exempted from the rule.
  • Passengers are exempt from the rule if they are transporting a lawful firearm, weapon, or ammunition to a U.S. customs official in advance of an international flight, are carrying the items in luggage being checked in, or retrieving them at the baggage claim area.

Unfortunately, people sometimes unintentionally do not realize that they are violating this law. It is a violation of the law to do the following:

  • Carry a firearm, weapon, or ammunition into the terminal whether as a passenger or a person dropping off or picking up a person in the airport.
  • Carry a firearm, weapon, or ammunition in carry-on luggage.

What Are TSA Laws Regarding Carrying a Gun in the Airport?

There are also federal laws prohibiting people from carrying a gun, other weapon, or ammunition into the CTL airport or any other airport. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) prohibits anyone from carrying flares, gun powder, and gun lighters into the airport. Guns and other gun-related items that can be stored in checked-in luggage, but not carried on a person or in carry-on luggage include:

  • Ammunition—can only be stored in luggage in certain quantities and in special packaging and fees may apply
  • BB guns
  • Firearms—must be unloaded, stored in a special box, and declared at check-in
  • Flare guns—must also be unloaded, stored in a special box, and declared to airline staff at check-in
  • Parts of guns and firearms
  • Pellets
  • Realistic replicas of firearms
  • Starter pistols—must follow the same requirements for firearms and flare guns

You must also check and comply with the specific rules of the airline you are using as to their rules for checking in any weapon or ammunition.

What Are the Penalties for Conviction of Carrying a Gun at the CTL Airport?

If you are arrested for carrying a gun at the CTL airport, you could face state or federal gun charges. You could also face the following penalties:

  • North Carolina conviction. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a sentence of up to 120 days in jail and a discretionary fine to be set by the judge.
  • Federal conviction. Under U.S. Department of Justice rules, you could face up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Are You Looking for a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Charlotte, NC?

If you are facing criminal charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charlotte office directly at 980.207.3355 to schedule your free consultation.


C. Todd Browning
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Charlotte Criminal Defense and DWI Lawyer