CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Charleston, West Virginia, man was stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers at Yeager Airport on Sunday, January 5, when they detected a .22 caliber handgun loaded with five bullets in his carry-on bag.
It was not a good way for him to start the new year.
TSA officials notified the Yeager Airport Police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and detained the man for questioning prior to citing him on weapons charges. The police cleared the man to fly—without his gun.
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.
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.
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 the individual is a TSA Pre✓® member, that person could even lose their 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 $4,100. 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.