I did something stupid Sunday morning, resulting in being charged with a crime for the first time in my adult life.
There is no excuse for my mistake.
In the interest of sympathy, however, I will add that I was stressed out. I didn’t sleep Saturday night, so I worked. I wrote several columns, some of which were published in the days after my “incident.” I’d sleep on the plane to Seattle where I was giving a speech Monday, I told myself.
Somewhat groggy early Sunday, I actually searched my computer bag for my revolver. I’m licensed to carry in Virginia. I didn’t see it.
When I got to Dulles Airport, I put the bag on the security belt.
The TSA agents saw the gun and signaled me over.
At that moment, I was kicking myself for not thoroughly emptying the bag.
The TSA agents were very nice. They expressed concern about my making the flight. They called the Virginia police as is protocol. They took photos of the firearm and me. They gave me a summons. Then they sent me on my way.
I am licensed to carry a loaded firearm in multiple states and carry a concealed weapon virtually all of the time. I get death threats against me. Let me tell you about that.
Aug. 15, 2012, a gunman attempting to enter Family Research Council’s Washington, D.C., headquarters shot a security guard, 46-year-old Leonardo Johnson, in the left arm. While injured, Johnson assisted others who wrestled the gunman to the ground until police arrived and placed the gunman under arrest.
During his FBI interview, the gunman, Floyd Corkins was asked how he chose his target. His response was “Southern Poverty Law, lists … uh … anti-gay groups. I found them online.” Corkins appeared in court the following day and was charged with assault with intent to kill while armed and interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition. An affidavit filed in the case stated that Corkins had told the guard “words to the effect of ‘I don’t like your politics.’”
When Corkins was arrested, investigators found 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his backpack. He told the FBI he planned to kill as many people as he could at FRC and then smash the sandwiches in their faces. The head of Chick-fil-A had announced opposition to same-sex marriage.
A week later, Corkins was indicted on three charges: two charges in the District of Columbia, possession of a handgun during a violent crime and assault with intent to kill, and interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, a federal charge. In January 2013, Corkins pleaded guilty to crossing state lines with guns and ammunition, intent to kill while armed and committing an act of terrorism with the intent to kill. Corkins was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Sept. 19, 2013.
You might note who broke the story that Joseph Farah was detained at Dulles Airport Sunday for carrying a handgun – the Southern Poverty Law Center.
You might also note the Southern Poverty Law Center has repeatedly labeled my news organization a hate group – with even worse descriptions of me personally.
I have many friends at the Family Research Council. I knew that August day that it could just as easily have been my office that was attacked.
Again, I’m not making any excuses about my dumb mistake last Sunday. What I did was dumber than dumb. But I thought you deserved to know the rest of the story, as my inspiration Paul Harvey would say.
Media wishing to interview Joseph Farah, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.