Gun Confiscations at Ft. Lauderdale Airport

Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that anti-terrorism security checks often overlap with domestic law enforcement, in no place more than in the airport. Unfortunately, as it relates to that combination, Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is receiving a lot of unfavorable attention.
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For the second year in a row, the airport has ranked in the top 10 of all airports across the country (3 of which are in Florida) in terms of number of guns seized by security personnel, according to the Transportation Safety Administration.

In 2014, security officers confiscated 49 firearms at security checkpoints at the Ft. Lauderdale airport, compared with 45 the year before. But are all of the gun seizures that took place at the airport evidence of willful terrorist, or even criminal, activity?

In 2014, security officers confiscated 49 firearms at security checkpoints at the Ft. Lauderdale airport, compared with 45 the year before. But are all of the gun seizures that took place at the airport evidence of willful terrorist, or even criminal, activity?

To begin with, Ft. Lauderdale’s 45 gun seizures in 2014 is a significant number, especially when compared with the mere 33 gun seizures at Miami in the same year. Other Florida airports that made the “top 10” include Orlando, with 49 gun confiscations, and Tampa, with 49 gun seizures.

So, what’s the deal? As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know, the 45 gun seizures do not necessarily indicate 45 foiled terrorist attacks or 45 prevented crimes. As Transportation Safety Administration spokeswoman Sari Koshetz acknowledged, passengers often had firearms in their bags from previous road trips, having forgotten to remove the guns, which explains their surprise when security officers remove the firearm from the bag, obviously shedding light on a major “no-no” in airports.

Koshetz did provide some discomforting information related to the gun seizures around the country and in South Florida in particular: the majority of the guns confiscated were loaded. To our experienced criminal defense lawyers, this fact can be viewed from two angles depending on the circumstance. While prosecutors might argue that a loaded gun is evidence of intention to commit a crime, others might counter by saying that a loaded gun is evidence of forgetfulness; if one was trying to slip by security officers and make things as unsuspicious as possible, they would probably not keep the gun loaded, which is obviously suspicious.

Because all of our criminal defense lawyers are former prosecutors, we have a nuanced perspective on all of the criminal cases that come across our desks. We’ve seen these cases from different angles, so we can appreciate that no case is as straightforward as it might initially seem. What might appear to be an incident fueled by criminal intent might actually turn out to be a moment of forgetfulness, as illustrated by the incidents at Ft. Lauderdale International, described above.

If you have been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please contact our criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert to schedule a free consutlation. You can reach us by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to assisting you.

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