ORLANDO, Fla. — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Orlando International Airport (MCO) wants to remind travelers that if you are traveling by air with your gun, it must be secured in your CHECKED luggage. Five guns were intercepted by TSA officers at MCO in the last two days. All were loaded. A total of 66 firearms have been stopped by TSA officers so far this year at the passenger checkpoints. Passengers are never allowed to transport their guns in the cabin of the aircraft.
A total of 55 guns have been stopped by TSA at MCO at the same time last year. In addition to the five guns found Sept. 18-19, an additional three guns were stopped Sept. 14-15, bringing the total to eight in one week.
Passengers bringing firearms to a TSA checkpoint face criminal charges and possible arrest by the Orlando Police Department with whom we partner in all cases. Travelers are also subject to a civil penalty from TSA of up to $12,000.
The number of incidents has been increasing both locally and across the country. TSA stopped 86 guns last year at MCO checkpoints. Most of the guns were loaded. With many people flinging their carry-on bags onto the X-ray belt in the screening checkpoint, this carelessness could have tragic results.
If you must travel with your gun, it must be in CHECKED baggage, unloaded, in a locked, hard-sided case and declared to the airline at check-in. Passengers are also responsible for knowing the laws on the other side of their trip, as some locations prohibit carriage even in checked bags.
Be prepared. Each time a TSA officer stops a firearm, the Orlando Police Department is called to take control of the weapon and determine if criminal charges will be lodged. Every weapon requires a bag search and slows down the line for you and everyone else behind you. Missing your flight then becomes your reality.