You’re in line for the TSA. You’re rushed. You forget to remove the handgun from your hip. Soon, you may not get in trouble.
A bill that passed the house on Thursday would forgive concealed handgun license holders for such lapses. Republican Rep. Drew Springer’s measure would protect a licensee from being arrested if he or she is caught in security with a handgun and immediately leaves the area.
The offense is currently a state felony.
In 2013, Rep. Drew Darby was arrested in Austin after officers found a loaded pistol in his carry-on luggage that he said he’d forgotten about.
In the Lone Star State, it seems almost as common for travelers in airport security lines to forget they are carrying a handgun as it is for them to fail to take off their belts or shoes; Texas leads the U.S. in gun confiscations in airport security checks. These confiscations spiked 25 percent last year; the Transportation Safety Administration confiscated 2,212 guns at airports in 2014, including 350-plus in Texas.
Springer’s bill now heads to the Senate.