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Impact of Firearms Laws on Airports (2016)

Chapter: X. WHETHER THE CARRYING OF A FIREARM IN AN AIRPORT IS A DISTURBANCE OF THE PEACE OR VIOLATES OTHER STATE OR LOCAL LAWS

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Suggested Citation:"X. WHETHER THE CARRYING OF A FIREARM IN AN AIRPORT IS A DISTURBANCE OF THE PEACE OR VIOLATES OTHER STATE OR LOCAL LAWS." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Impact of Firearms Laws on Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23597.
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Suggested Citation:"X. WHETHER THE CARRYING OF A FIREARM IN AN AIRPORT IS A DISTURBANCE OF THE PEACE OR VIOLATES OTHER STATE OR LOCAL LAWS." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Impact of Firearms Laws on Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23597.
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42 X. WHETHER THE CARRYING OF A FIREARM IN AN AIRPORT IS A DISTURBANCE OF THE PEACE OR VIOLATES OTHER STATE OR LOCAL LAWS Depending on a person’s conduct or demeanor or other circumstances when a person is carrying a firearm in an airport, the person could be in viola- tion of a state statute or local ordinance prohibiting disorderly conduct439 or the creation of a public nui- sance.440 Elsewhere the individual may be violating a state statute that proscribes aiming a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, at another person;441 brandishing a firearm;442 creating a hazard to In Arkansas, a license to carry a concealed hand- gun does not authorize a person to carry a concealed handgun in “[a]ny portion of an establishment, except a restaurant as defined in section 3-5-1202, licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consump- tion on the premises” or in “[a]ny portion of an estab- lishment, except a restaurant as defined in section 3-5-1202, where beer or light wine is consumed on the premises….”433 It is unlawful in Illinois to carry a firearm or other deadly weapon in any place licensed to sell intoxicating beverages.434 Louisiana law pro- hibits the possession of a firearm while on the prem- ises of a commercial establishment selling alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises.435 The statutes reviewed for the digest are not always clear as to whether they apply to persons carrying a firearm openly, as well as to persons having a license to carry a concealed firearm. The Oklahoma and Texas statutes, however, explicitly address whether firearms may be carried openly or in a concealed manner in an establishment selling liquor, wine, or beer for consumption on the premises. In Oklahoma, although it is unlawful to possess a firearm in an establishment where “low-point beer” or alcoholic beverages are consumed, a person possessing a valid handgun license under the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act may carry a concealed or unconcealed handgun into an establishment when the sale of low-point beer or alcoholic beverages does not constitute the pri- mary purpose of the business.436 In contrast, in Texas a license holder is prohibited from intentionally car- rying a handgun, knowingly or recklessly, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed, on or about the license holder’s person…on the premises of a business that has a permit or license issued under [the]…Alcoholic Beverage Code, if the business derives 51 percent or more of its income from the sale or service of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, as determined by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission….437 Washington’s statutory approach is somewhat different. The law prohibits a person from entering an establishment carrying a firearm that is “classi- fied by the state liquor control board as off-limits to persons under twenty-one years of age.”438 433 Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-73-306(12), (13), (19)(A)(i) (2015). Ark. Code Ann. § 3-5-1202 (2015) defines the term “restaurant” to mean any public or private place where complete meals are “actually and regularly served” and having a seating capacity for at least 50 people. 434 720 ill. Comp. stAt. Ann. 5/24-1(a)(8) (LexisNexis 2015). 435 lA. rev. stAt. Ann. §§ 14.95-5(A), (B) (2015). 436 oklA. stAt. tit. 21, § 1272.1(A) (2105). 437 tex. penAl Code Ann. § 46.035(b) (2015) (emphasis added). 438 WAsh. rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.300 (LexisNexis 2015). 439 gA. Code Ann. §§ 16-11-39(a)(1), (c) (2015) (disorderly conduct); kAn. stAt. Ann. § 21-6203 (2015) (prohibiting dis- orderly conduct); md. Code Ann., Crim. lAW §§ 10-201(a)(3) (ii)(11), (12) (LexisNexis 2015) (disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct applicable to a public place that includes an airport terminal and parking areas); minn. stAt. §§ 609.72 (2015) (disorderly conduct to alarm or disturb others) and 609.705 (2015); neB. rev. stAt. Ann. § 14-102(22) (LexisNexis 2015) (disorderly conduct); neB. rev. stAt. Ann. § 16-227 (LexisNexis 2015); N.H. rev. stAt. Ann. § 644:2(II) (LexisNexis 2015) (applicable to the disruption of the “orderly conduct of business in any place or governmental facility….”); N.J. rev. stAt. § 2C:33-1(b) (2015) (applicable when there are five or more persons “participating in a course of disorderly conduct” as defined in § 2C:33-2(a)); N.Y. penAl lAW § 240.20 (Consol. 2015) (disorderly conduct); vt. stAt. Ann. tit. 13, § 1026(a) (2015) (disorderly conduct); Wis. stAt. §§ 66.0409(2), (4), (6) (2015); Wis. stAt. § 947.01(1) (2015) (disorderly conduct); see also Wis. stAt. § 947.01(2) (2015) (stating in regard to alleged disorderly conduct that “[u]nless other facts and circumstances that indicate a criminal or malicious intent on the part of the person apply, a person is not in violation of, and may not be charged with a violation of, this section for loading, carrying, or going armed with a firearm, without regard to whether the fire- arm is loaded or is concealed or openly carried”). 440 minn. stAt. § 609.74 (2015) (public nuisance to annoy or endanger “considerable number of members of the public”); vt. stAt. Ann. tit. 24, § 2291(14) (2015) (power of governmental entity to define what constitutes a public nuisance). 441 W. vA. Code Ann. § 61-6-19(a) (LexisNexis 2015) (unlawful to interrupt or molest the orderly and peaceful process of any unit of government or one of its political subdivisions). 442 miCh. Comp. lAWs serv. § 750.234(1) (LexisNexis 2015) (unlawful to “brandish” a firearm willfully and knowingly in public); miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-19 (2015) (unlawful to bran- dish deadly weapon in the presence of another); S.C. Code Ann. § 16-420(B) (2015) (unlawful for a person to enter the premises of a publicly owned building and display, brandish, or threaten others with a firearm); S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31- 520 (2015) (allowing county, municipality, or political subdi- vision to regulate “public brandishment” of firearms); vA. Code Ann. § 18.2-282 (2015) (unlawful for any person to “point, hold, or brandish any firearm…as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another”); W. vA. Code Ann. § 61-7- 11 (LexisNexis 2015) (unlawful to “brandish” firearm).

43 free use of property;449 interrupting the peaceful pro- cess of any unit of government or a political subdivi- sion;450 obstructing a building entrance;451 possessing a firearm at a public demonstration;452 or carrying a firearm at an unlawful assembly.453 Whether there is a violation of state law by a per- son carrying a firearm in the nonsterile area of an airport depends, of course, on the language of the applicable statute and the circumstances attendant to the person’s carrying or exhibiting a firearm. In some states, the mere possession of a firearm may not be a sufficient basis for a charge of disorderly conduct or other violation of state law. In Arkansas, in the opinion of the attorney general, unless a stat- ute prohibits a loaded handgun, whether or not con- cealed, “unlawful intent may not be presumed simply because [a] person possesses a handgun.”454 Montana states that governments may not “prohibit the legitimate transportation of firearms through any jurisdiction, whether in airports or otherwise.”455 In Wisconsin, unless there are other facts and cir- cumstances that indicate a person’s criminal or malicious intent, a person may not be “charged with a violation of, an ordinance of a political subdivision relating to disorderly conduct or other inappropriate behavior for loading, carrying, or going armed with a firearm, without regard to whether the firearm is loaded or is concealed or openly carried.”456 A law that may be of interest to airport authori- ties is Louisiana’s statute prohibiting the “negligent carrying of a concealed handgun.” Negligent carrying of a concealed handgun is the inten- tional or criminally negligent carrying by any person, whether or not authorized or licensed to carry or possess a concealed handgun, under the following circumstances: When it is foreseeable that the handgun may discharge, or when others are placed in reasonable apprehension that the handgun may discharge. When the handgun is being others;443 creating a public annoyance;444 displaying a firearm in a threatening manner;445 doing a willful and wanton act endangering others;446 engaging in other action that purposely creates a risk of harm to others;447 interfering with a transportation facility or a public street or passage;448 interfering with the 443 N.H. rev. stAt. Ann. § 644:2(I) (LexisNexis 2015) (appli- cable when one “knowingly or purposely creates a condition which is hazardous to himself or another in a public place by any action which serves no legitimate purpose….”); N.J. stAt. Ann. § 2C:33-2(a)(2) (2015) (creating a hazardous or physi- cally dangerous condition by any act that serves no legiti- mate purpose); S.C. Code Ann. § 16-23-410 (2015) (unlawful to point loaded or unloaded firearm at a person); tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-305(a)(3) (2015) (disorderly conduct whenever a person in a public place with intent to cause public annoy- ance or harm “[c]reates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act that serves no legitimate purpose”). 444 W. vA. Code Ann. § 8-12-5(13) (LexisNexis 2015) (stat- ing that “every municipality and the governing body thereof shall have plenary power and authority therein…[t]o pre- vent injury or annoyance to the public or individuals from anything dangerous, offensive or unwholesome….”). 445 CAl. penAl Code § 417(2) (Deering 2015) (prohibiting the drawing or exhibiting of any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner); del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1301(1)(a) (2015) (prohibiting certain threatening behavior); del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1301(1)(f) (2015) (prohibiting the creating of a hazardous or physically offensive condition); flA. stAt. Ann. § 7790.10 (LexisNexis 2015) (unlawful to exhibit a firearm or other weapon in the presence of one or more persons in a rude, angry, or threatening manner); idAho Code Ann. § 18-3303 (2015) (unlawful to exhibit firearm in a threatening man- ner in presence of two or more persons); miCh. Comp. lAWs serv. § 123.1103(d) (LexisNexis 2015) (applicable to the display of a pneumatic gun in a threatening manner); mo. rev. stAt. § 571.030.1(4) (2015) (exhibiting firearm in a threatening manner); mo. rev. stAt. § 79.450(2) (2015); nev. rev. stAt. Ann. § 202.320(1) (LexisNexis 2015) (exhib- iting deadly weapon in a threatening manner). 446 nev. rev. stAt. Ann. § 202.595(1) (LexisNexis 2015) (performing any act in “willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons….”) W. vA. Code Ann. § 61-7-12 (LexisNexis 2015) (prohibiting any wanton act with a firearm creating a substantial risk of death or bodily injury). 447 ioWA Code §§ 723.4(1), (2) (2015) (providing that “[a] person commits a simple misdemeanor when the per- son…[e]ngages in…violent behavior in any public place” or “[m]akes loud and raucous noise in the vicinity of any…public building which causes unreasonable distress to the occupants thereof”); N.H. rev. stAt. Ann. § 644:1(I) (LexisNexis 2015) (applicable when one “purposely or recklessly creates a sub- stantial risk of causing public alarm” in presence of two or more other persons); tex. penAl Code Ann. § 42.01(a)(8) (2015) (“stating that “[a] person commits an offense if he intention- ally or knowingly…displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm….”). 448 AlA. Code § 13A-11-7(a)(5) (LexisNexis 2015) (pro- hibiting the obstruction of a “transportation facility”); gA. Code Ann. § 16-11-43 (2015) (obstructing streets or “public passage”); R.I. gen. lAWs § 11-45-1(a)(1) (2015) (threaten- ing behavior or obstructing highway, building entrance, and other areas “ordinarily used for the passage of per- sons, vehicles, or conveyances”). 449 idAho Code Ann. § 18-5901 (2015) (unlawful to obstruct the free use of property “by any considerable number of persons”). 450 WAsh. rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.230 (LexisNexis 2015) (unlawful to aim any firearm, whether loaded or not, at another person). 451 R.I. gen. lAWs § 11-45-1(a)(1) (2015) (threatening behavior or obstructing highway, building entrance, and other areas “ordinarily used for the passage of persons, vehi- cles, or conveyances”). 452 md. Code Ann., Crim. lAW § 4-208 (LexisNexis 2015) (regulating possession of firearms at public demonstration). 453 kAn. stAt. Ann. § 21-6202 (2015) (prohibiting unlaw- ful assembly); tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-314 (2015) (appli- cable to public disturbance involving acts of violence by an assemblage of two or more persons). 454 Ark. Att’y Gen. Op. No. 2015-064, supra note 157, at 3. 455 mont. Code Ann. §§ 45-8-351(1), (2)(b) (2015) (empha- sis added). 456 Wis. stAt. § 66.0409(6) (2015).

Next: XI. STATE LAWS APPLICABLE TO INDIVIDUALS CARRYING A FIREARM IN VIOLATION OF THEIR LICENSE OR PERMIT »
Impact of Firearms Laws on Airports Get This Book
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TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Legal Research Digest 29: Impact of Firearms Laws on Airports analyzes recent court cases on federal and state laws that have been challenged for restricting or prohibiting the carrying of firearms in public and other places.

The right to carry guns at airports is subject to the U.S. Constitution, federal and state legislation, and judicial decisions. Some state laws allow guns to be carried openly in public places. Most state laws regulate how guns are to be carried in a vehicle or left in a public or an employer’s parking lot. These and other state laws also have ramifications for commercial airports in the United States.

Accompanying the report are appendices available online:

  • Appendix A: Survey Questions
  • Appendix B: List of Airports and Airport Authorities Responding to the Survey
  • Appendix C: Summary of Responses by Airports and Airport Authorities to the Survey
  • Appendix D: ACRP Web Only Document 29: Compendium of State and Federal Laws Affecting the Possession of Firearms at Airports
  • Appendix E: Airport Ordinances, Policies, and Rules and Regulations Provided by Airports Responding to the Survey
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