CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A West Virginia man was caught with a loaded handgun at Yeager Airport early this morning, November 15, and was cited by police for carrying a gun in an airport. It marked the 10th gun caught by Transportation Security Administration officers at the checkpoint so far this calendar year—more than four times the number caught the previous year. In 2015, two travelers brought guns to the airport’s checkpoint.
As the man, a resident of Charleston, West Virginia, entered the TSA checkpoint, he placed his carry-on items in bins to pass through the metal detector. That’s when TSA officers spotted the loaded semi-automatic .380 caliber handgun on the X-ray monitor. It was loaded with six bullets, including one in the chamber. TSA officers immediately contacted the Yeager Airport Police, who responded and confiscated the gun and cited the man on a state weapons charge.
When asked why he had the gun with him, the man told officials that he forgot that he was carrying his loaded gun with him.
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 $12,000.
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.