SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The holiday travel season involves checking a lot of lists.
But, following a recent move by the Office of the United States Attorney-Southern Georgia District, you may find yourself checking your luggage and checking twice.
Now if you forget to take your gun out of your bag, you’ll now be paying a hefty price says U.S. Attorney for the Southern Georgia District Bobby Christine.
“Previously those with a conceal carry permit were given the opportunity to exit the airport and come back without it.”
However, as of Thursday, that is no longer the case at some Georgia airports, including Savannah/Hilton Head International.
The announcement means even if you can legally carry a gun in other places, if you forget you have it on you once you’re inside the secure area of the airport you’ll find yourself facing a federal misdemeanor.
A citation that could cost you $300 or more.
“The TSA has the ability to pursue civil penalties of up to $13,000,” said Christine.
Punishment with a steep price that he hopes will help in avoiding a potential tragedy.
“Usually when I’m speaking to the press it’s usually about some heartache that has already occurred, some horrible crime that has already transpired. What I’m trying to do now is say hey let’s be proactive let’s just check and double-check our bags.”
A simple check at home that could help you avoid a citation, and help everyone save time, especially during a busy travel season.
“When it does happen it just grinds everything to a halt. It’s frustrating travelers and costs time and money,” said Christine.
He stresses that this issue is not an epidemic, but it is on the rise, and he hopes to take this step now will prevent it from getting worse in the future.
As for the future of the citations at airports like Savannah/Hilton Head past the holidays, Christine says “it’s here to stay.”
If you do have your concealed carry license AND you have your weapon secured and sealed in a hard-sided box, you can get that item checked at the counter and you will still be allowed to travel with it.