The state lacks the power to file felony charges against people who breach airport security. But an effort has been launched at the Capitol to give the state more muscle.

It’s rare but it’s embarrassing to airport security officials when somebody gets into areas where they’re not supposed to be—the man who was found asleep in a parked jetliner at Lambert-St. Louis airport a year ago, for example. The airport had three other security breaches within a month of that event.

But the state cannot charge those people with anything stronger than a misdemeanor. Senator Rita Days of St. Louis wants to put people in prison who breach airport security. Lambert-St. Louis Airport Police Chief Paul Mason says people who breach security are doing a serious thing. He says anyone who goes into a concourse without completing the screening process causes screening to be stopped, the concourse to be emptied, and dozens of flights to be delayed while a careful search is made to make sure the person has not hidden anything there.

If someone makes it to the airfield itself, the airport can be fined as much as ten-thousand dollars. Mason says those breaches are federal misdemeanors and are not often prosecuted, leaving airport authorities to seek state prosecution–and he wants the violation to be prosecuted at the state level as a felony. .

A state senate committee is considering the proposal.


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