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Be careful packing your bags at the airport

Like other states, Washington has a "concealed carry" law that allows Spokane residents and others to conceal a firearm, like a pistol either on their person or in a bag. They are then, generally speaking, allowed to go about their business with a gun, provided of course, they have a permit and are not otherwise prohibited to do so.

However, there are some noted exceptions to this general rule, meaning that even someone who has the necessary permit can still find themselves in legal trouble with weapons charges, if they bring their firearm in to a restricted area. Currently, these restricted areas include courthouses, bars, mental health wards, jails and schools.

Another restricted area under state law is the restricted access side of a commercial airport. While a lot of Washington residents may take it for granted that they cannot carry a weapon on a plane, many others, sometimes simply by force of habit, may just pack a gun in their bag and, in a hurry, forget about it when they try to board.

While this can happen to the best of us, law enforcement will likely not see forgetfulness as an excuse and will seek out a criminal conviction. Furthermore, in addition to penalties under state law, the federal government may also assess an administrative fine on the person who left a gun in his or her bag.

People in these sorts of circumstances, although accused of committing a crime, are often basically honest citizens with jobs and families. They may need a strong defense against these types of weapons charges in order to preserve their professional reputation and livelihood.

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