FOPA Only Applies to Vehicles

At least that’s what the Third Circuit Court of Appeals says in the case of a Utah man who was arrested in New Jersey after getting stranded in Newark overnight when he missed his connecting flight to Allentown, where the pistol was legal. So says the Third Circuit:

The complaint reveals that Revell’s luggage containing the firearm was, in fact, available to him while he was at the hotel. He alleged that, “[a]fter retrieving his bag, because there were no more connections to Allentown until 9:45 a.m. the following morning … , [he] went directly to, and stayed the night at, the Airport Sheraton Hotel.” (App. at 23.) He further alleged that he returned with his luggage directly to the airport the next day and that a TSA agent, after x-raying the luggage, opened it with a key that Revell gave him. Taking those facts as true, it is clear that the gun and ammunition were readily accessible to Revell during his stay in New Jersey and, thus, by the allegations of his own complaint, he was not within the scope of § 926A. Dismissal of the § 926A claim was therefore proper.

The end result of this is that if you’re flying with guns, make sure your connecting city is a city where your guns are legal to possess. I’ve generally been careful about this when I fly with guns. So far this only applies to the Third Circuit, which is Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, but other circuits are likely to notice this ruling and use it.

Sorry folks, but it would seem FOPA only applies to vehicles on the highway.

17 thoughts on “FOPA Only Applies to Vehicles”

  1. “…which allows gun owners licensed in one state to carry firearms through another state under certain circumstances.”
    –JORDAN, Circuit Judge.

    I don’t think you don’t have to be “licensed” anywhere for FOPA to apply. Sloppy.

  2. As I understand FOPA, the law only provides safe passage through the state. Therefore even if he were driving, had he stopped for the night in New Jersey the outcome would probably have been the same. Still sucks, but I don’t think this shows a bias against air travel under the umbrella of FOPA – it just shows bias against lawful gun ownership.

  3. And of course all of this, nobody was harmed, and no Mens rea existed. Just a guy making the best of a bad situation.

    Gun control, it’s what you do instead of somthing.

    Meanwhile I’m sure while this guy was held up in his crappy airport hotel room plenty of people were harmed by REAL CRIMINALS in the lovely Utopia that is New Jersey.

    This is why I fight these bastards so hard!

  4. I think Bravo Sierra says it all!!

    We truly need to spend more time floating/pushing/insisting on revisiting the National Reciprocity idea as soon as we can after McDonald get’s ruled on.

    I can’t help but wonder, as I watch old movies that highlight on East Germany and West Germany border crossings, how similar we are in this “free” country. Papers in one state, not valid in another. Law Abiding citizen in 38 States, criminal in the rest.

    I have made many flights, back when I was traveling regularly, where my flight was diverted. I don’t get to say where that plane lands. So if I am forced to deplane and take charge of my bags
    I become a criminal in some States?

    Lunacy, Ludicrous and Ludificatory !!!!

  5. This is why it’s more important than ever for people like us to get on juries. It would be more than appropriate to nullify this BS. At the very least, the jury would hang if I had anything to say about it.

  6. I think if this happens to you., If I fly with a gun, (and I do not fly any more) I will pack it in a checkin bag I can do with out and if my flight stops at NJ, I will tell them to keep the bag till I check back in to fly where I wanted to in the first place. you will not have control of the gun then, TSA wil. You need to know the laws when you leave your home. THAT’s why I do not fly and I do not drive to places like NJ, CA, NY city, DC or North IL. I live in south part of IL. We are still fighting it out about the Gun control in IL.

  7. Second amendment incorporation will provide the platform to fix this unconscionable problem.

  8. The only way a car protects you is that you are not required to declare the firearm thus you can make it out of the state without the police finding out. If you’re not stopped for a traffic issue.

    In any case, with the logic used in this case, if the vehicle is stopped your firearm becomes readily accessible even if stowed as required by FOPA, so don’t stop in hostile territory, buy gas before crossing the state line and hopefully you can make it to another free area before you need gas again.

  9. So when will McDonald be ruled upon? This guy either needs that ruling to get this case dismissed, or needs a really good lawyer to push his own “shall not be infringed” case. If nothing else, there must be a standard legal response to “did everything right, but thru no fault of his own found himself on the wrong side of the law with no viable recourse” (akin to “doctrine of competing harms”).

  10. It seems this case is less about cars, and turns more on the phrase “readily accessible”, which they argue took place when he took possession of his luggage.

    So, what they appear to be saying is that if I were to journey from my PA home to a destination in Florida (Being able to legally possess a handgun at both endpoints of my journey), but I flew out through Newark airport to which I drove, FOPA would protect every leg of that journey EXCEPT wheeling my luggage from the trunk of my car to the ticket counter.

    What a crock.

    Does this mean I have to get a skycap to take possession of my luggage directly from my trunk? Inquiring minds wanna know.

  11. Aren’t we so glad we traded away the machine gun registry for this? Yes I know it wasn’t exactly like that but it still hacks me off.

  12. Regarding the idea of ensuring connecting flights are through legal cities, that’s still risky. I’ve been on many flights that were cancelled, re-routed without informing the passengers, or had hidden stops.

    Most recently, Southwest turned my direct VA to WA flight into a 4 stop flight (increasing the time from ~4 hours to ~ 9 hours).

  13. Danny the man. Yes, indeed, the Iron Curtain has arrived in America. Ausweis, bitte!

    So, for gunowners, Newark is a “sundown town”.

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