CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Beckley, West Virginia, woman was stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers at Yeager Airport Saturday, April 27, when they detected a loaded gun in the woman’s carry-on bag. The .380 caliber handgun was loaded with five bullets.
The woman was not ticketed to fly and had received a gate pass from the airline to enable her to escort a ticketed passenger to the gate. TSA officials notified the Yeager Airport Police, who responded to the checkpoint and detained the woman for questioning prior to citing her on weapons charges. Individuals who possess a gate pass to escort other individuals to their gate must pass through the security checkpoint and follow all of the same protocols and procedures as ticketed passengers, which means that no weapons or other prohibited items are permitted to be carried through the TSA checkpoint by the gate pass holder.
It marked the second gun stopped by TSA at the checkpoint this year. Both guns were detected this month.
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 individuals 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’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.