TSA discovers two loaded firearms in two days in carry-on luggage at Sea-Tac Airport

Local Press Release
Thursday, May 28, 2020

SEATTLE - Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport have discovered two loaded firearms during the routine screening of carry-on luggage this week.

On Wednesday afternoon, TSA officers discovered a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson Airweight revolver in the carry-on luggage of male traveler ticketed for travel to Boise Airport. Around 2:15 p.m., a TSA officer spotted the image of a handgun on the x-ray screen. TSA immediately notified the Port of Seattle Police, which responded to the security checkpoint. The passenger was cited on a state charge and allowed to continue on to his flight.

The other firearm was discovered Tuesday, May 26 around 10:45 a.m. in the bag of a non-traveling male who was escorting his minor grandchild to the gate. That firearm was a 9mm Kimber Ultra Carry STS loaded with seven rounds of ammunition. The individual was also cited on a state charge.

These are the 16th and 17th firearm discoveries by TSA in carry-on luggage at Sea-Tac Airport in 2020. Nationwide, 1,004 firearms have been found in carry-on luggage so far this year.

TSA will review the circumstances of the incident and levy a civil penalty against each passenger. The recommended civil penalty for a firearm starts at $2,000 and can go up to the statutory maximum of more than $10,000 per violation.

Factors TSA considers when determining the civil penalty amount include whether the firearm was loaded and whether there was accessible ammunition. TSA evaluates each incident on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to civil penalties, individuals who violate rules regarding traveling with firearms will have Trusted Traveler status and TSA Pre✓® expedited screening benefits revoked for a period of time. The duration of the disqualification will depend upon the seriousness of the offense and if there is a repeated history of violations.

Firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage. Ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are also prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be checked. Any type of replica firearm is prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.

At the airport during the check-in process, a passenger needs to go to the airline ticket counter to declare the firearm, ammunition and any firearm parts. Prior to traveling, passengers are encouraged to check gun laws and regulations at their destination to ensure they are in compliance with local and state laws. TSA also recommends travelers check with their airline prior to their flight to ensure they comply with any airline-specific requirements.

More information on traveling legally with a firearm is available on TSA’s website.