TAMPA, Fla. - The Transportation Security Administration discovered three loaded firearms in two separate incidents at Tampa International Airport (TPA) checkpoints this morning.
At approximately 5 a.m., a loaded Smith & Wesson .40 caliber and a loaded Sig Sauer .40 caliber were discovered in a passenger’s carry-on bag.
A loaded Glock .380 caliber handgun was discovered in a different passenger’s carry-on bag at approximately 7:30 a.m.
In both incidents, TSA immediately alerted airport police, who took possession of the bags and escorted the passengers out of the checkpoint area.
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.”
TSA officers at TPA have now discovered 24 firearms at security checkpoints in 2018. A total of 97 were found there in 2017.
In addition to potential criminal charges, passengers who bring firearms to a checkpoint face civil penalties from TSA.