LEE COUNTY, FLORIDA — A competitive shooter did something that would make almost any concealed carrier cringe – he forgot to remove a concealed carry pistol from his carry-on bag. Thankfully for Victor Hugo Franco Jr., charges have been formally dropped by the Lee County prosecutor inspecting the case.
According to sources at News Press, Franco entered into the TSA security checkpoint with a loaded .380 L.W. Seecamp in his carry-on bag. He apparently forgot to remove it after having taken it on a privately chartered flight prior to the one he was trying to board.
When his bag was spotted in the X-Ray machine and he was flagged, Lee County law enforcement cited him as saying, “oh crap, did I leave my gun in there?”
TSA security noted that Franco complied with all requests and did not dispute the fact that the gun was not supposed to be in there. He had checked other firearms through baggage so it seems he has some familiarity with how firearms are supposed to be sent through the airlines.
Unfortunately, it just so happened he forgot about his concealed carry pistol.
Franco said that he had taken a private flight the week before and had tossed his gun in the bag and forgotten about it.
“It was just completely forgotten,” he said. “The TSA was very nice and understanding.”
Franco, a competitive target shooter, said he was to go target shooting with friends.
Because he had not been able to produce his concealed carry permit, he was arrested by Florida county law enforcement pending details of the investigation. A spokeswoman for the state attorney’s office, Samantha Syoen, officially commented that no charges have been filed.
It’s certainly a mistake that can happen to anyone who frequently travels and it’s all the more imperative to always check any baggage that you plan on taking with you for firearms. Most airlines (and Amtrak) allow firearms to be sent by checked baggage. To do this, a concealed carrier just needs to follow TSA’s guidelines for shipping firearms as checked baggage and always declare that baggage ahead of time in the check-in process.
- DO take your firearms with you when you go on vacation. Check them as baggage.
- DO inspect any bag that has previously stored firearms and/or ammunition to ensure none remain prior to departing for the airport.
- DON’T attempt to take your guns through a TSA checkpoint.