How Can I Fight a TSA Civil Proceeding?


Taking a gun into an airport is a serious crime, and you can read more about it here and here. Just in the first half of 2023 alone, TSA stopped 3,251 guns from traveling through U.S. airports. The total represents an average of 18 firearms per day at TSA checkpoints of which more than 92% were loaded. While the rate at which passengers are stopped with guns has been decreasing, as the airline industry picks up again and more passengers are traveling the overall number of guns seized is on pace to be the most ever.

Passengers may transport unloaded firearms in checked baggage if they are transported in a locked, hard-sided container and declared to the airline before traveling. Consistent with the new ATF definition of firearm, TSA now considers frames, receivers, and 3D-printed guns to be firearms under its civil enforcement program. TSA considers a firearm to be "loaded" when both the firearm and its ammunition are accessible to the passenger. Transporting any unloaded firearm outside of an approved container or in a carry-on, or bringing any loaded firearm to the airport checkpoint will result in criminal and civil penalties.

TSA Civil Penalties

TSA may impose civil penalties of up to $14,950 per violation per person. The table below will give you some guidance about the penalties:

  • Loaded Firearm at Security Checkpoint: $3,000 – $10,700
  • Repeat Offense of Loaded Firearm at Checkpoint: $10,700 – $14,950
  • Unloaded Firearm at Security Checkpoint: $1,500 – $5,370
  • Loaded Firearm in Checked Baggage: $1,490 – $2,990

After an arrest for any criminal charge, the TSA will send a Notice of Violation. The notice will contain an airport specific case number, the proposed penalty amount, and instructions on how to request a hearing or how to pay for the penalty. The notice is time sensitive, and anyone who does not follow the hearing process within 30 days will receive one final notice. Parties only have 15 days from the final notice to respond before the penalty becomes final.

Can a Lawyer Help Me With TSA?

Having an experienced lawyer is essential to navigating these civil penalties. Here at Jetton and Meredith, our attorneys have worked with the TSA before to resolve these matters. From filing the proper hearing paperwork to keeping up with the Docketing Clerk and the Special Enforcement Program Office, we have you covered. Once we file an appeal, we will work hard to get the government to reduce or remit your penalty all together. If you hire us for your criminal case, we will handle the resulting civil penalty for you at no extra cost.

Did you accidentally bring your gun to the airport? Are you struggling with a civil penalty as a result? We want to help you fix that mistake, with as little damage as possible to your reputation and your wallet. Call us right away at (704) 931-5535 to schedule a consultation with one of our award-winning attorneys.