Saturday, December 16, 2017

CO: Common Sense Prevails: No Charges for Rep Who Forgot Gun was in Carry-on

In a show of common sense, no charges were filed against State Representative Lori Saine, R-Firestone.  Lori had forgotten that her personal, legal, self-defense firearm was in her carry-on luggage. From
DENVER — The Boulder County District Attorney has decided not to press charges against Colorado State Rep. Lori Saine, R-Firestone, who was arrested December 5 after carrying a loaded gun through security at Denver International Airport.

In a statement released Thursday, Boulder District Attorney Stanley Garnett's office said a criminal case against Saine could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and charges “are not appropriate.” She was facing a possible class 6 felony charge.
 This type of incident happens thousands of times a year. In 2015, the number was 2,653 firearms discovered in carry- on bags. In 2016, 3,391 firearms were discovered the same way.. The number is increasing every year. I expect the 2017 numbers to be higher yet.  Denver is in the top 10 airports for discoveries of legal firearm owners who are inadvertently caught up in TSA security apparatus. There were 98 of these incidents in Denver in 2016.

The U.S.A. has over 16 million people with firearm carry permits, about 6.5% of the adult population.  With so many people legally carrying firearms, it is inevitable that a few will be distracted at a critical time, get rushed in packing a bag, or otherwise make an innocent mistake that leads to a problem such as Representative Saine encountered at the Denver airport.

Most of these situations are handled with common sense, such as the Boulder County District Attorney demonstrated.

Legal gun owners caught up in TSA security apparatus, should not be subject t o the same penalties as terrorists and assorted criminals.

Being pulled off a flight, losing the cost of the ticket, missing your appointments and family events, and going through the criminal justice system, are more than enough punishment for an innocent mistake. 

The job of a prosecutor is to seek justice, not to win cases and prosecutions.

This incident serves as a warning to all gun owners in the United States, and particularly to the millions who routinely carry firearms.

When traveling by air, be extremely cautious about your luggage. Search your carry-on twice to make sure it does not contain so much as a single round of .22 ammunition.

A number of years ago, I found that I had traveled hundreds of miles by air with a box of .22 shells in my brief case. It was a wake-up call.  TSA never discovered the box of ammunition, but they could have. It would have ruined my day.

Do not make that kind of mistake. It is much easier to do than you imagine.  The vast majority of people are careful and avoid problems. There are about a hundred million gun owners in the United States.  3,391 were found with a gun in their carry-on last year.  It is a tiny percentage. The numbers are rising as are the number of gun owners and people who regularly carry.  Carry a gun enough, and fly often enough, and it can happen.  Check your bags twice. When you are tempted to rush, slow down.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

No comments: