Consequences of Possessing a Weapon at an Illinois Airport Checkpoint
With the holidays upon us, it is important that persons do not inadvertently possess a weapon at an airport checkpoint. In Illinois, under 720 ILCS 5/29D-35.1, it is “unlawful for any person to board or attempt to board any commercial aircraft, knowingly having in his or her possession a firearm…” The law does not apply to persons authorized by the federal or state government but those persons must notify the commander of the aircraft and provide proper authorization. Buying a ticket to board an aircraft constitutes consent to search for weapons. One refusing to be searched may be denied the right to board.
Attempting to go through airport security and inadvertently possessing a gun in carry-on luggage can have consequences. Violation of this statute is a Class 4 felony, for which a person convicted of this offense may be eligible for probation but may also be sentenced to the penitentiary for a period of 1 to 3 years.
Persons who have a concealed carry license are also prohibited from possessing weapons in an airport pursuant to 430 ILCS 66.-65(a)-19, which states “A licensee under this Act shall not knowingly carry a firearm on or into… (a)ny building, real property, or parking area under the control of an airport.” A violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor, with a second or subsequent violation being a Class A misdemeanor. Additionally, any person convicted of this offense shall ay a $150 fee deposited to the Mental Health Reporting Fund, in addition to any court costs and fees.
Both statutes require the state to prove that the charged person did such acts “knowingly.” It is better to be overly cautious, however, and not be arrested, charged and in need of counsel to argue the issue of intent to commit an offense. A person who goes through a checkpoint at an airport with a firearm will become a defendant in the Illinois criminal justice system. The person will be arrested and will not travel to his or her destination. Bail will be set and there will be court appearances to attend. A possible conviction may carry collateral consequences, impacting employment or immigration status. This post deals with only consequences under Illinois law. Such an action may also submit the person possessing a weapon to potential federal criminal jurisdiction. It is far better to leave the weapon at home.
#weapons, #airport, #criminaljustice
Lori G. Levin
Attorney at Law
180 N. LaSalle, Suite 3700
Chicago, IL 60601