The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has stopped 115 guns so far this year across the state of Florida. One passenger recently came to a Ft. Lauderdale checkpoint with three guns in his carry-on. During this stressful time in our nation, passengers are reminded to be sure they know what is in their bag and their pockets so they can move right through the checkpoint without stopping for a patdown or bag search to remove a prohibited item.
“In order to maintain social distancing and not have to have their bag opened due to a prohibited item, passengers are reminded to know precisely what is in their bags before leaving for the airport,” noted Sari Koshetz, a spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration. “If a gun is brought to the TSA screening checkpoint, the passenger will need to stop for an interview by police and even if they are not arrested, they will face a civil penalty from the TSA that can exceed $13,000.”
Across Florida, year to date, here is a sample of airports and the number of guns our TSA officers have kept out of the cabins of aircraft: 22 at Orlando International; 19 at Tampa International; 17 at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International; 17 at Miami International; and 10 at Jacksonville International.
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.
“The diligence of our officers during these trying times,” said Koshetz, “continues to be a testament to their dedication to be there for the public and to keep travelers safe.”
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 in your checked bag
Practicing the 3-1-1 carry-on rule and leaving home without your oversized liquids 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 may be up to 12 ounces, 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 and that will slow you down and disrupt your social distancing. 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.