TSA officer discovers firearm at Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport security checkpoint

Local Press Release
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

LEWISTON, Idaho - An officer with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport (LWS) discovered a loaded firearm Monday morning at the security checkpoint during routine screening of carry-on baggage.

The Transportation Security Officer (TSO) found the firearm around 6:15 a.m. in the carry-on bag of a male passenger ticketed for travel to Salt Lake City International Airport. The firearm - an American Arms .22 Magnum - was loaded with five rounds of ammunition.

When the TSO saw the image of a firearm on the X-ray screen, the Lewiston Police Department (LPD) was immediately notified and responded to the checkpoint. LPD confiscated the firearm and the passenger was allowed to continue to his flight.

“This incident is yet another reminder for all passengers headed to the airport - make sure you know what is in your luggage,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Idaho Andy Coose. “Firearms traveling in the cabin of an airplane pose a significant hazard to the aircraft and to passengers. Firearms in carry-on luggage discovered at the security checkpoint can result in police action, delays in screening and fines or prosecution. I urge all travelers to look carefully and know what they are bringing in their bags before heading to the airport.”

This is the first firearm TSA has discovered in carry-on baggage at LWS in 2017.  No firearms were discovered in carry-on baggage at LWS in 2016.  However, TSA officers discovered a total of 22 firearms at Idaho airports in 2016 including 18 at the Boise Airport, two at Joslin Field Magic Valley in Twin Falls and two at Idaho Falls Regional Airport.

Nationwide in 2016, TSA found 3,391 guns in carry-on bags at airport security checkpoints. In 2015, TSA officers across the country detected 2,653 firearms in passengers’ carry-on bags.

Firearms, ammunition, firearm parts and realistic replicas of firearms are always prohibited in carry-on baggage. However, these items can be transported in checked baggage provided the traveler declares them to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.

Firearms in checked baggage must be unloaded and stored in a locked, hard-sided container. TSA urges passengers to contact their airline for specific firearm and ammunition policies and to check local laws related to the carrying and transport of firearms.

In addition to facing local or state criminal charges, TSA reserves the right to levy a civil penalty of up to $7,500 for bringing a dangerous weapon like a firearm to the checkpoint. Each penalty is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

TSA reminds passengers to be aware of the contents of their carry-on bag prior to coming to the security checkpoint. TSA has multiple resources available to passengers to help them determine whether an item is permitted in carry-on baggage, checked baggage or not at all. For more information, visit the prohibited items page on tsa.gov or use TSA's app - myTSA.

Additional traveler information specifically related to the commercial air transport of firearms and ammunition can be found on the transporting firearms and ammunition page on tsa.gov.