WARWICK, RI –A Florida man was arrested by airport police yesterday (December 29) after Transportation Security Administration officers at T.F. Green International Airport (PVD) caught him with a .22 caliber in his carry-on bag at the security checkpoint. It marked the third gun caught at the airport’s checkpoint this year, and the second gun caught within the last two weeks. Last year TSA officers detected four firearms at the airport’s checkpoint.
TSA officers, who spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, contacted the airport police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and detained the man, a resident of Indian River County, Florida, for questioning before arresting him on weapons charges. He told officials that he had no idea how the handgun came to be in his possession.
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 addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,000 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100. The complete list of penalties is posted online here: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/civil-enforcement.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its web site here: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.