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Suing an Airline Over a Gun

Short of this case is, a guy from South Dakota, with a South Dakota permit, takes a gun to New York City. Upon checking his baggage to go back home, he’s arrested, so he’s suing Delta Airlines, suggesting they should know the law and inform him. That’s a bit of a leap for me. You’re responsible for understanding the law. You can’t expect the airline to do that for you. By the same token, can you blame the guy for assuming New York City was part of America?

15 Responses to “Suing an Airline Over a Gun”

  1. Jeff Dege says:

    I’m not so sure. Remember – it was the airline that informed on him to the NY police. Apparently, the airline has an internal policy that requires them to do so.

    Seems to me that they might well have an obligation to have disclosed that policy, when he stood there at the counter to check his gun.

  2. Sendarius says:

    I think he should sue the TSA – after all, they let him get on a plane with a gun in his luggage (they can’t POSSIBLY not have detected it, right?), when they knew his destination was New York.

    I know, I know, it’s a stretch, but how many other frivolous law-suits have you seen, that aren’t even HALF as amusing?

  3. Sage Thrasher says:

    Needing a permit to simply own a gun is so patently ridiculous, I cannot understand why states still exist that require it. Doing away with permitting requirements for law-abiding citizens is the next hurdle at SCOTUS.

    • Sebastian says:

      Most of the states that require a permit to own do so on a shall-issue basis. The may-issue state (Massachusetts) is being challenged. The shall-issue states might take a bit more case law to have a basis to go after.

  4. unclenunzie says:

    What’s remarkable is that NY did not fully prosecute, or at least did not try to do serious permanent damage to the traveler’s record.

    Perhaps one day NY will obey federal and constitutional law in both fact and spirit.

    • harp1034 says:

      Don’t hold your breath. New York City/ New York State obeying the constitution? Maybe year 3000.

  5. McThag says:

    He should also name them as an accomplice in his crime. After all, they transported it to New York for him thus aiding and abetting.

    He said “I am taking this gun to NY,” and they didn’t refuse, did they?

    • Zermoid says:

      Actually, he handed the gun to them and said “take this to NY for me”, an even better case for aiding and abetting!

  6. Carl from Chicago says:

    This guy is the President of a university in Sioux Falls. My guess is he’s probably pretty well connected, legally speaking.

    In my mind, he was harmed by New York law, and I’m wishing he would have sued over that. After all, it is New York law that harmed him for merely exercising a constitutional right … one deemed fundamental by the US Supreme Court.

  7. Flight-ER-Doc says:

    If the airline is going to report the gun to the cops, then the airline has a duty to tell passengers.

    Or, don’t tell the police…..

    simple choice, to me.

    Better yet, make New York City rejoin the United States.

  8. Guav says:

    “By the same token, can you blame the guy for assuming New York City was part of America?”

    Yeah, kinda. I mean, guns have been banned in NYC for how long? Who doesn’t know that by now?

    That aside, as you correctly noted, it’s your responsibility to familarize yourself with the laws of your destination.

  9. TS says:

    How is this legal under the FOPA? This guy may have kept a gun in NYC during his stay- but that is not what he was caught doing. Where is their probable cause to make an arrest? As long as he is in the process of traveling through NYC with a cased, locked, and unloaded gun, he should be protected.

    As far as Delta goes, if their policy is to call the police, part of the policy should be to inform any travelers to or through NYC of said policy. If they didn’t have that policy, and it was the sole decision of the ticketing agent to call the police, then Delta bears no responsibility in my mind.

    • Sebastian says:

      Two things on FOPA.

      One is that it requires the gun to be legal at the origin and destination. Since it wasn’t, FOPA doesn’t apply. His gun was not legal for him to possess in New York.

      Two, at least one court has held that FOPA does not apply to airline travel, only to travel by motor vehicle.

      • TS says:

        Thanks, I didn’t know that FOPA doesn’t apply to airlines- total crap, by the way. As I read the text, I can see now that it only applies to motor vehicle travel. Can we call it the “air travel loophole” that allows the government to arrest travelers with guns even though it specifically protects motor vehicle travel? The scary thing is that as active as I am about knowing my rights, and learning about the laws, there are still things I don’t know. That is what got me into gun rights. I used to be a casual gun owner, and casual gun owners in California are liable to end up in prison. You have to be diligent, and diligence breeds passion. But they keep telling us how guns are unregulated in this country.

        • Zermoid says:

          Wasn’t FOPA drafted mostly BECAUSE of people traveling by air getting in trouble like this?

          What a crock.

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