ALLENTOWN (TNS) — Another knucklehead got busted last week for trying to board a plane at Lehigh Valley International Airport with a loaded handgun in his carry-on luggage.
He was the sixth person caught with a firearm there this year. Wanna bet he won’t be the last?
It’s time to make such recklessness a bigger deal — and thankfully authorities are.
Passengers at Pennsylvania airports caught with a gun now face losing a prized privilege of Second Amendment worshippers.
Yep, that’s right. You can kiss your concealed carry permit goodbye.
Federal authorities announced Monday they are expanding a program to seek revocation of permits of those stopped with a firearm at airport security, due to their negligence.
That potential penalty now applies everywhere in Pennsylvania, under an agreement between the three U.S. attorneys’ offices and all 67 county sheriffs.
I wrote about this plan when it started as a trial in Pittsburgh last month. I urged authorities to broaden it to cover the entire state. I’m glad they did. The traveling public should be glad, too.
When someone is caught with a gun at airport security, the line stops. That delays everyone. It could result in bystanders missing their flights, especially during heavy travel times such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
And it puts airport security at risk, as they have to handle the loaded weapon.
All sheriffs have agreed to review referrals from federal authorities for possible revocation of permits, the Pennsylvania Sheriffs’ Association and U.S. attorneys in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh said Monday.
The sheriffs said they will be informing permit holders how they can legally fly with their firearm.
That means packing it unloaded, in a hard-sided and locked case, in a checked bag and declaring it at the airline ticket counter.
“We encourage all gun owners to double- and triple-check your carry-on luggage to make sure you have not forgotten to remove any weapons,” Schuylkill County Sheriff Joseph Groody, president of the sheriffs association, said in a statement.
And I encourage sheriffs to take referrals seriously, and start revoking concealed carry permits.
Every time I write about guns, I hear from the “law-abiding gun owner” crowd complaining their Second Amendment right is under attack.
Don’t bother making that argument about this, too.
Being a law-abiding gun owner means being responsible for your guns. And being responsible for your guns means knowing where they are all the time.
Forgetting your gun was in your backpack or purse means you’re not responsible. And trying to take it on a plane means you’re not law-abiding.
It’s ridiculous how often this happens. Over three days last week, four people were caught trying to board with a loaded gun at Pennsylvania airports.
In addition to the knucklehead at LVIA, two were stopped in Pittsburgh and one in Philadelphia. Clearly, people don’t take the consequences seriously.
Maybe they will if they know they can kiss their concealed carry permit goodbye.
(Paul Muschick is a columnist for The Morning Call of Allentown.)