BOSTON –Transportation Security Administration officers caught two loaded handguns at Boston Logan International Airport checkpoints May 19, marking the fifth and sixth guns TSA has stopped at the airport checkpoints so far this year.
An Arizona man was stopped with a 9 mm handgun that was loaded with six bullets and a New Hampshire man also was stopped with a 9 mm handgun loaded with six bullets, including one in the chamber. The New Hampshire man also had a loaded clip with seven additional bullets. The incidents were not related.
In both instances, TSA officers spotted the guns when the men’s belongings entered the X-ray machine. They contacted the airport police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the guns and detained the individuals for questioning. Police then arrested the Arizona man, a resident of Pima County, Ariz., on weapons violations. The other man, a resident of Rindge, N.H., was cited by the police on weapons charges.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
Nationwide last year, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day, approximately a 7% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017. Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34% had a bullet in the chamber.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes in their carry-on bags. If an individual is a TSA Pre✓® member, then that person could even lose TSA Pre✓® status. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. 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 its website. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.