IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – An officer with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) discovered a loaded firearm Tuesday in the carry-on baggage of a male passenger traveling from Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) to Salt Lake City International Airport.
The firearm was a 9 mm Walter PPS M2 handgun 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 11:45 a.m. Feb. 13. Upon seeing the image of the firearm on the X-ray screen, TSA notified an officer with the Idaho Falls Police Department who responded to the security checkpoint.
This is the first firearm discovery of the year for TSA at IDA. Over the previous two years, TSA discovered two firearms per year at the security checkpoint. Nationwide in 2017, TSA discovered 3,957 firearms in passengers’ carry-on bags, up from 3,391 in 2016.
“Travelers take note: transporting firearms in carry-on luggage is never allowed,” said Andy Coose, federal security director for Idaho. “The rules for traveling with a firearm on a commercial aircraft are not new. If you are traveling with a gun, please take the necessary steps prior to coming to the airport to ensure that the gun is properly packed for transport in checked baggage.”
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.gov.