I came across an article recently that reminded me of a situation that I have seen with increasing frequency in recent years-people being fined or even charged with crimes for minor weapons violations at airports which are the result of absent minded packing rather than any nefarious attempt to use a weapon at an airport or on a plane.
Time.com recounts a recent situation with pop singer Joe Jonas. He was stopped by airport security after they found a set of knives in his carry-on. If he’s like me, he probably didn’t leave an inch of extra space in his bags before he left and found himself cramming all those souvenirs and gifts he bought on his trip into his carry-on. Well, suffice it to say, any type of knife is clearly a no-no in the post 9/11 security world that we now live in. Depending upon the type of knife, he might also have been afoul of certain criminal weapons statutes. Joe was lucky-security simply relocated the knives to his checked luggage, but many people haven’t been so lucky at the Nashville airport.
A little absent minding packing like this at a Tennessee airport could easily have you facing federal fines and possible state criminal charges. TheTransportation Security Administration (TSA) website lists items prohibited for carry-on luggage and checked luggage. The TSA Enforcement Guidance Policy lays out possible civil fines one faces. And, some items may not only violate TSA safety regulations but may run afoul of Tennessee or other states’ weapons laws.
I have seen many cases in Nashville General Sessions Court in which people received misdemeanor citations for weapons offenses. Often it’s for novelty type items which many don’t realize can fall within the category of illegal weapons, e.g., martial arts type items and knives with spring loaded blades. If you have any object that could be considered a weapon when traveling it would be a good idea to check both the TSA regulations regarding weapons and the State and local laws to ensure you are in compliance. Most violations of Tennessee’s unlawful weapons statute are class A misdemeanors. In Tennessee, a class A misdemeanor is punishable by a possible sentence of up to eleven months and twenty-nine days in jail and fines up to $2,500.