Local man left loaded firearm in carry-on bag by mistake

A local man who was arrested by airport security in South Carolina for having a loaded firearm in his carry-on bag said he had forgotten the gun was the bag before preparing to travel.

Daniel J. Clarence, 57, 10461 W. Grandview Drive, was arrested at the Myrtle Beach International Airport just after 7 a.m. on Feb. 6, according to a police report.

In a telephone interview Wednesday, Clarence said he was on vacation in Myrtle Beach visiting his son’s family prior to the incident. Clarence, who has a license carry permit for the handgun, normally keeps it in his vehicle, where it was located when he was at Myrtle Beach, he said.

Because his grandchildren had been playing in the vehicle, Clarence said he decided to take the handgun out of the vehicle and place it in a work backpack that he stored in a secure area of the house the children could not reach.

Clarence said he was heading out of the Myrtle Beach airport on business and picked up his work backpack to take on the flight, not remembering that he had transferred the handgun earlier.

“It was an honest mistake leaving it in there,” he said. “I’ve never been arrested in my life. It was a shock.”

Airport security stopped the security line when they found the handgun, and Clarence said he told them what had happened. However, protocol calls for the arrest and Clarence was not allowed to board the early-morning flight.

There were no rounds in the chamber, but seven rounds were in the firearm’s magazine, the police report states. The gun was confiscated, Clarence said. He then took a flight for the business trip the next day.

Clarence did appear before a judge in Myrtle Beach, who said the charge of carrying a firearm in a restricted place would be a misdemeanor, and waived the fees associated with the offense, he said.

Clarence, who said he travels extensively on business, said he should have known better but he simply forgot about moving the gun into the backpack.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.