TSA detects three handguns in passengers’ carry-on luggage at Sea-Tac Airport in past 24 hours

Local Press Release
Friday, May 10, 2019

SEATTLE - Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) have discovered three firearms in the carry-on luggage of travelers in the past 24 hours.

Around 5:20 a.m. today, a TSA officer discovered an unloaded Hawes .25 caliber pistol in the carry-on luggage of a male passenger ticketed for travel to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif.

On Thursday, May 9, around 5:30 p.m., a TSA officer discovered an unloaded .22 caliber North American Arms revolver in the carry-on luggage of a female passenger headed to San Diego International Airport. Six hours earlier, a TSA officer discovered a loaded .380 caliber Ruger LCP in the carry-on luggage of a male traveler ticketed for travel to Spokane International Airport.

In each instance, TSA notified the Port of Seattle Police Department and they responded to the security checkpoint. They interviewed each traveler and confiscated the weapons. Each passenger was arrested on a state charge.

TSA will review the circumstances of the incident and levy a civil penalty against the passengers. The recommended civil penalty for a firearm starts at $2,000 and can go up to the statutory maximum of $13,333 per violation.

Factors TSA considers when determining the civil penalty amount include whether the firearm was loaded and whether there was accessible ammunition. TSA evaluates each incident on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to civil penalties, individuals who violate rules regarding traveling with firearms will have Trusted Traveler status and TSA Pre✓® expedited screening benefits revoked for a period of time. The duration of the disqualification will depend upon the seriousness of the offense and if there is a repeated history of violations.

These three firearms bring the total number of firearms discovered by TSA at Sea-Tac Airport in 2019 to 19. Of those, 15 were loaded. Nationwide, TSA officers have discovered 1,451 firearms in carry-on luggage so far this year.

Firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage. Ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are also prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be checked. Any type of replica firearm is prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.

At the airport during the check-in process, a passenger needs to go to the airline ticket counter to declare the firearm, ammunition and any firearm parts. Prior to traveling, passengers are encouraged to check gun laws and regulations at their destination to ensure they are in compliance with local and state laws. TSA also recommends travelers check with their airline prior to their flight to ensure they comply with any airline-specific requirements.

TSA reminds passengers to be aware of the contents of their carry-on bag prior to coming to the security checkpoint. TSA has multiple resources available to passengers to help them determine whether an item is permitted in carry-on baggage, checked baggage or not at all.

Travelers can use the “Can I Bring?” feature on the TSA mobile app, myTSA, or visit  https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/all. Travelers can also Tweet or Message “AskTSA” if they have a travel question or are unsure if an item is allowed through security in a carry-on bag. Just snap a picture or send a question and get real-time assistance.

Additional traveler information specifically related to the commercial air transport of firearms and ammunition can be found at http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition. More information on TSA’s civil penalties for prohibited items can be found at https://www.tsa.gov/travel/civil-enforcement.