The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has stopped 17 guns so far this year at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), including three in one day by three different diligent and dedicated officers. During this stressful time in our nation, passengers are reminded to be sure they do not have prohibited items in their bag.
On March 9th at 4:35 a.m. a TSA officer stopped a 9 MM Glock, loaded with seven rounds, one chambered.
At 8 a.m. another TSA officer stopped a second 9 MM Glock loaded with nine rounds. And at 4:03 p.m. a third TSA officer stopped a Ruger with 12 rounds.
“The diligence of our officers during these trying times,” said Federal Security Director Michael Scott, “continues to be a testament to their dedication to keep the traveling public safe.”
Last year TSA officers in Austin stopped 79 guns, in Midland 30, in Lubbock, 21, Amarillo 15, San Angelo 5, and 1 each in Killeen-Ft. Hood, Waco and College Station.
TSA officers at airports across the state and country continue to intercept guns even as passenger volumes plummet. Firearms may be transported in your checked bags if they are declared to the airline at check-in, unloaded and placed in a locked, hard-sided case.
“If a gun is brought to the TSA screening checkpoint, the passenger will face a civil penalty that can exceed $13,000 and that fine is imposed even if you are not arrested or cited by our law enforcement partners,” noted Sari Koshetz, a spokesperson with the Transportation Security Administration. “In order to maintain social distancing and not have to face a bag search, passengers are reminded to know precisely what is in their bags before leaving for the airport.”
In addition to firearms, TSA officers stop literally tons of VAP (Voluntarily abandoned property consisting of prohibited items such as knives and brass knuckles) and they intercept tens of thousands of pounds of HazMat (hazardous materials such as flammable and corrosive household chemicals) every year as well. The Hazmat cannot travel in your carry-on or your checked bag. “During a time when passengers want to move through the checkpoint as quickly as possible to maintain that social distancing, being sure that your bag does not have to be opened by one of our officers to remove a prohibited item is paramount,” Koshetz stressed.
Practicing the 3-1-1 carry-on rule and leaving home without your prohibited items will facilitate a quick checkpoint experience and reduce your travel stress. Do note that hand sanitizers are an exception to the 3.4 ounce or less rule and up to 12 ounces are allowed, but may be subjected to additional screening.
Another stress reliever and good hygiene practice is to place everything that is in your pockets or clipped to your waistband into your own carry-on bag before you even get to the checkpoint. That includes your belt, wallet, coins and phones. Forgetting to remove these items might result in a patdown when you alarm the screening equipment. Just put everything into your bag with the exception of electronics larger than a cell phone unless you are in the TSA Precheck program and then you can leave those in your bag as well.