MILWAUKEE, Wis. — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) discovered two loaded firearms in different passengers’ carry-on bags at security screening checkpoints at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) this week.
On Tuesday, Aug. 21, a passenger brought a .40 caliber Glock, loaded with 13 rounds, to one of the airport’s checkpoints in a backpack. The next day, Wednesday, Aug. 22, a different passenger brought a 9 mm Kimber Micro firearm to a checkpoint in a carry-on bag. In both cases, TSA alerted local law enforcement. The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department took possession of the weapons, interviewed the passengers, and determined if there would be any criminal charges.
“The two catches this week bring the total to six firearms discovered so far this year at MKE security checkpoints,” said TSA Federal Security Director Mark Lendvay. “In 2017, we intercepted 15 firearms, so while the numbers appear to be trending lower this year, even one firearm at an airport security checkpoint is too many.”
Firearms can only be transported in a checked bag that is declared to the airline at the ticket counter and properly packed in a locked, hard-sided container. Firearm parts, ammunition, and realistic replicas also are not allowed through security checkpoints, but can travel in checked bags.
Nationwide, TSA officers found 3,957 firearms in carry-on bags at airport security checkpoints in 2017, a 17 percent increase over 2016. So far in 2018, TSA has found more than 2,700 firearms at airport security checkpoints.
TSA has the authority to levy a civil penalty of up to $13,000 against a passenger who brings a firearm to the checkpoint. The average penalty for a loaded firearm is $3,900, and the average for an unloaded is about half that amount. Any determination about a criminal charge is up to law enforcement. For more information, visit the prohibited items and firearms and ammunition pages.