CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Transportation Security Administration officers stopped five guns at West Virginia airports in 2015, one less than detected the previous year.
Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA. Travelers with proper firearm permits can travel legally with their firearms properly packed in their checked baggage only, if they follow a few simple guidelines.
“Weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are never permitted in carry-on bags, but they can be transported safely in checked bags if they are unloaded, properly packed and declared to the airline,” said TSA’s West Virginia Federal Security Director Karen Keys-Turner. “We never like to see firearms brought to the checkpoints.
“I’m glad to see that the number of guns that travelers brought to our airport checkpoints decreased from 2015 to 2014,” she continued. “That decrease is a trend I would like to see continue.”
Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. TSA advises travelers to familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure to ensure that they have the proper gun permits for the states that they are traveling to and from. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition so travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies prior to arriving at the airport.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Ammunition must be in its original box and can be packed inside the hard-side case, next to the firearm. Even if the box of ammunition is not full, the bullets must be in their original case. The case with the firearm should then be brought to the airline check-in counter and the airline representative informed that the passenger wants to travel with the gun. Firearms are transported inside checked baggage and are placed in the belly of the aircraft.
TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm.
Nationwide, the Transportation Security Administration screens approximately 2 million passengers and their luggage every day for prohibited items, including weapons and explosives. To do this, TSA uses imaging technology to safely screen passengers for any items which may be concealed under clothing, while X-ray units screen all carry-on baggage.