TSA discovers loaded firearm in TYS passenger’s wheelchair cushion

Local Press Release
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

ALCOA, Tenn. - The Transportation Security Administration discovered a loaded firearm at the McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) checkpoint today. 

At approximately 10:30 a.m., a loaded Smith and Wesson .40 caliber pistol was discovered hidden inside a passenger’s wheelchair cushion.

TSA immediately alerted airport police, who took possession of the firearm and arrested the passenger on a state charge.

While firearms may be transported in checked baggage (provided they are declared to the airline, in a proper carrying case and unloaded), they are prohibited in carry-on bags.

TSA would like to remind passengers that it is important for them to thoroughly search their bags for any potential dangerous weapons or prohibited items before departing for the airport.

Safety is the first concern of the TSA, and having these items in bags that are traveling with you on the aircraft is dangerous to other travelers and can be easily mistaken as an intentional attempt to bring a prohibited item onto an aircraft. 

“Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the checkpoint,” said Mark Howell, TSA Regional Spokesperson. “Our advice is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.”

This is the 15th firearm discovered at the security checkpoint by TSA officers at TYS in 2017. A total of 16 were found at TYS last year. 

In addition to potential criminal charges, passengers who bring firearms to a checkpoint may face civil penalties from TSA.  

For more information about the TSA prohibited items, please see TSA.gov.