Aviation & Space Law

Probate Lawyer, 65, Says She Forgot Loaded Gun in DFW Carry-On, Faces Potential Felony Case

A Texas trusts and estates lawyer was briefly taken into custody and faces a potential felony case after reportedly forgetting that she had a loaded handgun in her carry-on computer bag as she boarded an American Airlines flight to Houston yesterday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Judith Kenney, 65, was tearful and apologetic after the incident, according to her attorney, David Finn, of Dallas. About 10 flights at the airport’s Terminal D were delayed because Transportation Security Administration personnel didn’t immediately stop Kenney and confiscate the bag after the weapon was spotted by a screener, the Associated Press reports.

Kenney had forgotten that the gun, which she carries for personal protection, was in the bag, Finn said. She had boarded the plane and it was headed for the runway when it was called back to the gate. Kenney was removed from the plane and taken into custody about an hour and a half after she passed through a security checkpoint.

A TSA spokesman blamed Kenney, who, he said,”picked up the bag and left the checkpoint before the screening process was over,” for the incident, the AP reports.

The AP says security personnel got an image of Kenney from closed-circuit video and showed it to some airport employees, who apparently pointed them to her flight.

A Star-Telegram article offers additional details and says the incident began around 6:20 a.m. yesterday. A TSA spokesman told the newspaper that the weapon, a .38-caliber revolver, was spotted but security personnel didn’t immediately know what bag it was in or who that bag belonged to.

After obtaining Kenney’s photo from the security video, “We had people stationed at the counters as the passengers were walking through, so we had the opportunity to view them and match them against the photo,” spokesman Luis Casanova told the newspaper.

Officials say she will be charged with a third-degree felony for carrying a gun into a place that prohibits weapons. She was released on her own recognizance.

The TSA has said that airport security checkpoints nationwide detect about four firearms daily, many of them loaded, according to Reuters.

Kenney’s state bar listing says she operates a small firm in Addison that specializes in probate, trusts and estate matters.

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