MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A Morgantown, W.Va., resident was stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers at the Morgantown Municipal Airport checkpoint on Sunday, Feb. 21, when they detected a loaded gun in his carry-on bag.
TSA officers detected the .380 caliber handgun among the man’s carry-on items as he was passing through the airport checkpoint on Sunday. It was loaded with seven bullets, including one in the chamber. The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine detected the handgun inside the traveler’s carry-on bag as it passed along the conveyor belt.
TSA officers immediately contacted the local police, who responded and confiscated the gun. The traveler told officials that he forgot he was carrying his loaded gun.
This incident serves as a reminder that passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the security checkpoint and TSA’s advice to passengers is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.
Weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are not permitted in carry-on bags, but can be transported in checked bags if they are unloaded, properly packed and declared to the airline. Passengers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.
TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.
TSA 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.