IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – An officer with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) discovered a loaded firearm in the carry-on baggage of a male passenger traveling from Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) to Phoenix/Mesa Gateway Airport.
The firearm was a Glock 9 mm pistol loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition. An additional magazine with 17 rounds of ammunition was also found. The TSA officer discovered the firearm around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10. Upon seeing the image of the firearm on the x-ray screen, TSA notified the Idaho Falls Police Department, which responded to the security checkpoint.
“Far too many handguns are making their way to Idaho airports. I respectfully ask that all Idahoans, in their own best interest, be cognizant of the fact that they should not have a firearm of any time in any bag they plan to bring to the airport. It is both a safety and a security concern when a loaded firearm ends up at a TSA screening checkpoint,” said Andy Coose, TSA Federal Security Director for Idaho. “As the chief Aviation Security official for this state, I want to make sure all passengers are quickly and safely processed so they can make it to their flight on time. I ask all passengers with guns to double check before leaving home to make sure you don’t have one with you.”
This is the second firearm this year that TSA officers have discovered in the carry-on bag of a passenger departing IDA. In all of 2016, TSA officers at IDA discovered two guns in carry-on baggage.
So far in 2017, TSA officers nationwide have discovered more than 3,900 firearms in passengers’ carry-on bags and more than 235 different airports. During all of 2016, TSA officers found 3,391 firearms at security checkpoints across the country.
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 $9,800 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. Additional traveler information specifically related to the commercial air transport of firearms and ammunition can be found at http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition.