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TSA catches loaded gun during screening at Huntington Tri-State Airport

TSA officers at Huntington Tri-State Airport stopped a man with this loaded handgun at the...
TSA officers at Huntington Tri-State Airport stopped a man with this loaded handgun at the security checkpoint on Nov. 29. (TSA photo)(Huntington Tri-State Airport)
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 8:58 AM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A man was stopped by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Huntington Tri-State Airport Monday when officers detected a loaded 9mm handgun along with two gun magazines with a total of 35 bullets among his carry-on items.

When the TSA officer spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, local police were alerted, came to the checkpoint, and confiscated the weapon.

The man told officials that he forgot that he had his loaded gun with him.

“It’s important to know where your gun is at all times, especially when you are packing for a flight,” said John C. Allen, TSA’s Federal Security Director for West Virginia. “Guns and security checkpoints don’t mix. There’s a right way to transport a gun for a flight and a wrong way. The wrong way is to bring it to a checkpoint. The right way is to make sure it’s unloaded, packed in a hard-sided locked case and brought to the airline check-in counter to be declared. The airline will make sure it is transported in the belly of the plane where nobody has access to it during a flight.”

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 3,257 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year, although the total number of passengers screened at airport checkpoints across the country fell by 500 million compared to 2019 due to the pandemic. The result was that twice as many firearms per million passengers screened were detected at checkpoints in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, TSA caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers as compared to about five firearms per million passengers in 2019.  Of the guns caught by TSA in 2020, about 83 percent were loaded.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

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