SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – An officer with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) discovered a loaded firearm Friday afternoon in the carry-on baggage of a female passenger traveling from Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA) to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
The firearm was a 9 mm Glock 43 pistol loaded with seven rounds of ammunition including one in the chamber. The TSA officer discovered the firearm during the routine screening of carry-on bags around 4:30 p.m. Feb. 9. Upon seeing the image of the firearm on the X-ray screen, TSA notified the Santa Barbara Airport Patrol who responded to the security checkpoint.
This is the first firearm discovery of the year for TSA at SBA. In 2016, TSA discovered two firearms at the security checkpoint; none were discovered in 2017. Nationwide in 2017, TSA discovered 3,957 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 $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 on TSA’s website on how to properly travel with a firearm.