CHARLESTON, W.Va – A Putnam County, W.Va., woman was caught trying to bring a loaded gun onboard an airplane Sunday morning, April 17, when Transportation Security Administration officers at Yeager Airport detected the handgun in one of the woman’s carry-on bags. It marked the second traveler with a loaded gun stopped by TSA in four days at Yeager.
TSA officers detected the .38 caliber handgun in the woman’s carry-on bag as she was passing through the airport checkpoint. It was loaded with five bullets. The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine detected the gun inside the Winfield, W.Va., woman’s bag as it moved along the conveyor belt.
In both instances, on April 13 and 17, the firearms were .38 caliber handguns. They marked the second and third guns that TSA officers have intercepted at the checkpoint so far this year—already more than were detected during all 12 months of 2015. TSA officers detected two firearms at the Yeager Airport checkpoint in 2015.
TSA officers immediately contacted the Yeager Airport Police, which responded and confiscated the gun from the woman. There was no impact to airport operations.
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 up to $11,000.
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 has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. 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.