OMAHA, NE – An Arizona man became the first individual caught by the Transportation Security Administration with a firearm at the Eppley Airfield checkpoint this year. He was stopped yesterday (Jan. 16) with a .45 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets, including one in the chamber.
TSA officers caught the handgun as it entered the checkpoint X-ray machine. Omaha Airport Authority Police were contacted, confiscated the gun and detained the man for questioning before allowing him to catch his flight.
It was the first gun caught at Eppley Airfield so far this year. In 2019, TSA officers detected 15 guns at the airport checkpoint.
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, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 12.1 firearms per day, approximately a 5% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 4,239 detected in 2018. Eighty-seven percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded.
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, 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 $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.