Dennis Farina booked in weapons case

Times Staff Writer

Dennis Farina is a bum shot.

Still, Los Angeles International Airport police took no chances Sunday with the former “Law and Order” actor, who was teased for his poor shooting skills during his earlier career as a Chicago police officer.

Farina, 64, was booked in a felony case after LAX screeners found a loaded handgun in his briefcase as he prepared to board a plane.

The actor, who is often cast as a foul-mouthed mobster or cop, was contrite when he told airport police and FBI agents that he had forgotten he put the .22-caliber semi-automatic weapon in the case, authorities said. He spent most of the day in a Van Nuys jail and was released on $35,000 bail.


“He was apologetic and very cooperative, and he said he understood what was going to happen,” said LAX Police Sgt. Jim Holcomb.

Farina had no permit for the gun, and it was not clear why he was carrying it. A representative for the actor could not be reached.

Holcomb said Farina told investigators he put the gun in the case before driving to L.A. from Arizona for the United Airlines flight to Chicago. He was booked on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon.

The actor has starred in several feature films, including “Get Shorty” and “Saving Private Ryan,” and the current “What Happens in Vegas.” Farina served with the Chicago Police Department for nearly 20 years.

LAX police run into this problem--of passengers forgetting they have guns in their carry-on luggage--regularly, Holcomb said. Most of the roughly 10 incidents a month involve police officers traveling as civilians.

“People don’t get it,” Holcomb said. “When you go to an airport, the only people that can carry a gun are federal agents.”

That’s not to say high-profile travelers haven’t tried to board with weapons.

Rapper Snoop Dogg pleaded guilty in 2007 after screeners at John Wayne Airport in Orange County found a collapsible baton in his luggage. Although the rapper said it was a prop for a music video, authorities deemed it otherwise.

David Huckabee, son of former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, received a one-year suspended sentence last year after he was caught at a Little Rock, Ark. airport with a loaded Glock pistol in his bag.

“It was a silly mistake,” he said at the time.

And the lead singer of the rock band Incubus, Brandon Boyd, was arrested in 2004 for carrying a switchblade in his bag while trying to board a plane at New York’s La Guardia International Airport.