In October 2018, TSA discovered a total of 358 firearms in carry-on bags at 105 airports. Of these, 300 were loaded and 133 had a chambered round. Bringing a firearm through the security checkpoint may result in a civil penalty of up to $13,333. Repeat violations will result in higher penalties.
Want to avoid civil penalties? Watch and learn how to properly travel with your firearm in checked baggage. It’s important to note that some airline policies may differ from TSA’s. We strongly recommend travelers check with their airline for their specific firearm and ammunition policies. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should review state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.
All of the firearms pictured above were discovered last month.
It can be difficult to tell on the X-ray if a firearm is real or just a novelty item. When a suspected firearm is discovered at the security checkpoint, screening is stopped until law enforcement is able to secure the item. This leads to long lines and possible flight delays. Real, replicas or items resembling firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags. The photo on the left is a novelty firearm that shoots toothpicks, which was discovered at Denver International Airport. On the right is a replica firearm with a spring-loaded blade that was discovered at Albuquerque International Sunport.
On October 18, Salt Lake City International Airport TSA officer Leon discovered a loaded Springfield XD 9mm handgun with a round in the chamber. Leon has been an officer for less than a year. Prior to joining TSA, Leon served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. As we approach the Veterans Day holiday, we proudly recognize and remember those who served to protect America.
TSA screening procedures prevent prohibited items and other threats to transportation security from entering the sterile area of the airport. Along with the finds highlighted in this post, our officers regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, BB and pellet guns, airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, stun guns, small pocket knives and many other prohibited items.
In most cases travelers say they forgot the item was in their bag. This can lead to a citation and in some cases arrest. Unfortunately, this happens far too often. Our goal in sharing these finds is to remind travelers to check their bags and know the rules before heading to the airport.
Want to know how many firearms we found last year? Check out our 2017 blog post. And don’t forget to check out our top 10 most unusual finds videos for 2016 and 2017.
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TSA Guest Blogger