MILWAUKEE – Just three weeks into the new year, a Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, man became the first individual caught this year by the Transportation Security Administration with a firearm at a Mitchell International Airport checkpoint. He was stopped early this morning with a .38 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets.
TSA officers caught the handgun when the man removed his coat and placed it on the conveyor belt go through the checkpoint X-ray machine. TSA officers detected the gun inside the front zippered pocket of his coat. The man, a resident of Mequon, Wisconsin, told officials that he did not know that he was carrying his loaded gun because he thought it was in a different jacket.
TSA contacted the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, whose officers came to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and detained the man for questioning prior to citing him on state weapons charges.
Firearms Caught at Mitchell International Airport, 2018 to 2020
(as of 1-21-20)
Mitchell International Airport
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.
- 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.