Austin firefighter suspended for having gun at ABIA checkpoint
AUSTIN, Texas - Fire specialist Troy McMillin with the Austin Fire Department is on disciplinary suspension this week.
In a letter from Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr to the Director of Civil Service, Kerr says it's because he took a gun to the security checkpoint at ABIA in January -- something ABIA's Jim Halbrook says will always yield the same result.
"If you have a handgun in your carry-on bag and you come into the checkpoint, that's a felony. And you're going to be arrested and you're not going to make your flight that day," Halbrook said.
He says people need to double check their bags before they get there.
"Handguns have been prohibited to bring onto an aircraft since the '70s," he said.
According to the police paperwork, McMillin had a 9mm glock in his carry-on bag. When TSA saw it through the X-ray machine, Austin Police asked him if he might have a gun in his bag. McMillin said quote "Yes...I forgot."
Austin criminal defense attorney James Gill has represented many clients that have found themselves in this situation. He says he's never come across anyone that intentionally left a weapon in their bag.
"We usually see about 3 to 6 of these cases a year and it's often when people are either in a hurry, late to an airplane and they usually forget to take something either out of their checked bag or their carry on," he said.
Gill says the next concern is how long it will take to get it off of their permanent record.
"The problem we run into is that these people have lingering felony records from anywhere from 3 to 5 years. And when they can't get that charge off their record it often does effects with regards to their work and other problems that I've seen people terminated from in terms of their employment. So it does have lasting repercussions for people if they do get arrested," Gill said.
Gill says he's been a criminal defense attorney for more than 10 years and every client of his that this has happened to, he's gotten their cases dismissed.
Firearms aren't the only thing people are trying to bring onto planes...TSA's weekly blog says a live smoke grenade and an inert grenade were discovered at ABIA just last week.
McMillin has been with AFD for 11 years.
His suspension lasts Monday until Friday.
According to Austin Police, in 2014 there were 39 arrests for carrying a weapon at an airport and 4 arrests for unlawfully carrying a weapon at other prohibited places.