Houston Rockets player Dwight Howard was detained at a Texas Airport last Friday, August 27, after he was found to be carrying a loaded gun in his carry-on bag. The 29-year-old basketball center was at Terminal E of the George Bush Intercontinental airport around 7 a.m. when he was stopped by officials.
Following the discovery of the gun, Howard admitted that the weapon was his but did not disclose why he was carrying the gun with him. He then gave the gun to an associate of his and proceeded on his way, boarding a later flight. According to both TMZ Sports, who broke the news, and ESPN, the Houston District Attorney’s office declined to press criminal charges against the professional ball player for carrying a loaded weapon.
As reported by Tom Benning of the Dallas Morning News, a recent Texas gun law that was passed may have helped Howard avoid arrest. The new law gives gun owners a one-time free pass if they accidentally carry a firearm into an airport.
“Starting Tuesday, a concealed handgun license holder can avoid arrest on a third-degree felony charge for bringing a pistol into an airport’s secure zone. That’s so long as the person immediately leaves the area upon being told about the weapon.
The thought of bringing a handgun into an airport — accidentally or otherwise — might seem ludicrous, given the focus on airport safety and the all-too-familiar nuisance of going through security. But it happens more often than you might expect.”
Houston PD spokesperson Kese Smith said Howard’s gun incident was not “unusual.” The NBA has yet to comment on Howard’s loaded gun episode. As for the center’s team, Houston Rockets spokesperson Tracey Hughes informed the Houston Chronicle that they are aware of the Howard’s airport episode.
“The team is aware of the incident,” Hughes stated, adding, “We are gathering information at this time.”
The Houston Rockets are scheduled to kick off their season against the Denver Nuggets on October 28 without Dwight Howard, who has been suspended for the first game. Last season, Howard racked up four flagrant fouls during the NBA Playoffs, earning him a one-game suspension.
Howard’s previous legal troubles include a suspended license. Last year in September, Howard had his license suspended after he reportedly ran 10 red lights in the short span of two-and-a-half years in Orange County, FL. Howard’s fines totaled $285 for the infractions.
[Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images]