A TSA officer at Orlando International Airport (MCO) alerted the Orlando Police Department at 9:25 this morning that a passenger in the checkpoint had a gun in his carry-on bag. The 26-year-old man faces criminal charges for carrying a firearm in a place prohibited by law.
Also inside his bag – safely maintained by the TSA inside the x-ray machine until police arrived and took possession of the gun – was 15 rounds of 9 mm ammunition. That was the 23rd gun TSA officers have intercepted so far this year at MCO.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has stopped 119 guns this year across the state of Florida. During this stressful time in our nation, passengers are reminded to be aware of what is in their bag and their pockets so they can move right through the checkpoint without stopping for a pat down or bag search to remove a gun or other prohibited item.
“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 or cited, the passenger will face a civil penalty from the TSA that can exceed $13,000,” noted Sari Koshetz, a spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration. “If your goal is to maintain social distancing, do know precisely what is in your bag before heading to the airport.”
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: 23 at Orlando International; 20 at Tampa International; 17 at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International; 18 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 have plummeted. 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 exemplifies their dedication to keeping travelers safe,” said Koshetz.
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 thousands of pounds of HazMat (hazardous materials such as flammable and corrosive household chemicals) every year at MCO as well. The Hazmat cannot travel in your carry-on or in your checked bag.