CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two men were stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers at Yeager Airport on December 11, when they detected a handgun in each of the men’s carry-on bags.
A St. Albans, WV, resident showed up with a .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun along with a magazine that contained six bullets. Approximately three hours later, a Huntington, WV, man came to the checkpoint with a .38 caliber revolver that was loaded with five bullets. The incidents are not believed to be related.
Each man told officials that they forgot that they had their guns with them. TSA officials notified the Yeager Airport Police, who responded to the checkpoint and detained them for questioning and cited them on weapons charges. They marked the fifth and sixth guns caught by TSA officers at the airport this year.
When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. Guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.
Individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed carry permits are not allowed to bring guns past TSA checkpoints. In addition, TSA has the authority to access civil penalties of up to $13,000. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on tsa.gov. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.