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Woman removed from plane after bringing gun aboard

By David Koenig

AP Airlines Writer

LAST UPDATED: 06:28 a.m. HST, Jan 19, 2012

FORT WORTH, Texas >>A 65-year-old lawyer was arrested Wednesday for carrying a loaded handgun aboard an American Airlines jet at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Judith Kenney was released later Wednesday on her own recognizance, said her attorney, Dallas lawyer David Finn. 

Kenney carries a handgun for protection but had forgotten that it was in a computer bag she carried on board the plane, he said. She has no criminal history, he said.

Screeners at a security checkpoint had detected a gun in a woman’s carry-on bag but she “picked up the bag and left the checkpoint before the screening process was over,” said Greg Soule, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, which operates the checkpoints. When TSA screeners spot a gun in a bag, they are supposed to seize the bag and notify police, he said.

Officials got a photo of Kenney from a closed-circuit video system and showed it to airport employees. She was taken into custody by DFW Airport police about an hour and 40 minutes later, Soule said.

An airline spokesman said Wednesday that the plane was headed for the runway when it returned to the gate and was met by airport police. 

Kenney was removed from Flight 2385, scheduled to fly to Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport. The flight, with 128 passengers, was delayed for just over an hour and passengers were screened again before the plane took off, American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith said.

Airport officials said that Kenney would be charged with carrying a gun into a place where weapons are prohibited, a third-degree felony in Texas and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

About 10 other flights were also delayed up to 25 minutes after the TSA closed DFW’s Terminal D, Smith said. The terminal, one of five at the airport, is used for both domestic and international flights.

Kenney is “absolutely mortified, embarrassed,” Finn said. “She feels terrible for putting the pilot and passengers through all that.”

The incident comes amid heightened criticism of TSA. 

A soldier arrested on Dec. 31 at the Midland, Texas, airport with C4 explosives in his bag said he probably carried the bomb material on a flight from North Carolina to Texas. Screeners delayed him after finding and confiscating a smoke grenade but let him on that first flight.

In other cases, screeners have been overzealous. TSA Administrator John Pistole said in letters made public this week that screeners at New York’s Kennedy Airport violated procedures this fall by asking an 85-year-old woman and an 88-year-old woman to reveal medical devices concealed under their clothes. The women said they felt as if they had been strip-searched.

Screeners in Las Vegas were criticized this month for confiscating a traveler’s frosted cupcake. 

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Macadamiamac wrote:
Doesn't the TSA remind anyone of the Nazi Brown Shirts?
on January 19,2012 | 07:22AM
Anonymous wrote:
Yes "Macadamiamac" they can be a pain in the ass ...BUT... I'll be willing to bet you all the victims on 9-11 who were in those planes, would be wishing they had that kind of security that day
on January 19,2012 | 01:03PM
Bully wrote:
TSA sees the gun in her bag and allows her to grab her bag and proceed to the gate, she not only gets to the gates but she gets on the airplane. Anybody else see something wrong with this?
on January 19,2012 | 09:15AM
kainalu wrote:
The TSA actually confiscates thousands of guns. We're a gun-toting society - end of story.
on January 19,2012 | 02:12PM
DABLACK wrote:
Evidently the person behind the xray machine needs more training or the supervisor was not on the job. After all that had happen....what was the corrective action for the screener? Who was held accountable? The public gets all the news, but what about TSA? They should pay for all the inconvenience the other passengers encountered. And will the person with the weapon walk free? Ha!
on January 19,2012 | 11:47AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Send her to prison for 10 years. Responsible gun owners NEVER make mistakes like this.
on January 19,2012 | 12:27PM
Anonymous wrote:
on January 19,2012 | 01:03PM
ethan wrote:
"It's" who you are, and who you "Know". Feudalism is alive and well in the USA.
on January 19,2012 | 04:07PM
bullturd wrote:
I wonder if Malsada's would pass the sniff test at our Islands airports. @Macadamiamac : Better safe than dead!
on January 19,2012 | 04:23PM
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