AVOCA, Pa. – A Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, man was stopped by a Transportation Security Administration officer when a .45 caliber handgun loaded with seven bullets was spotted in the man’s carry-on bag at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport earlier today, September 3.
When the TSA officer spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, the Avoca Police were contacted, responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm and detained the man for questioning. There was no impact to airport operations.
Tuesday’s firearm catch was the third gun caught at the airport checkpoint this year. TSA officers stopped one gun at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport in 2018.
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. 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 $4,000. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.