JUNEAU, Alaska - Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Juneau International Airport (JNU) discovered a loaded firearm in the carry-on luggage of male traveler ticketed for travel to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Monday morning.
Around 6 a.m. during the routine screening of carry-on luggage, a TSA officer spotted the image of a handgun on the x-ray screen. TSA immediately notified the Juneau Police Department, which responded to the security checkpoint.
The gun - a North American Arms .40 caliber Ruger SR40C - was loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition. This is the first firearm discovered by TSA in carry-on luggage at JNU in 2020. Law enforcement confiscated the firearm and the traveler was allowed to continue on his flight.
In 2019, TSA officers at JNU found two firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage. Nationwide, TSA officers have discovered 1,074 firearms to date and 85% of those have been loaded. In 2019, a total of 4,432 firearms were found in carry-on luggage.
“While this is the first firearm discovery at JNU this year, our security officers remain vigilant, looking for security violations and preventing prohibited items from being brought onboard an aircraft,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Alaska Peter Duffy. “Firearms, whether loaded or unloaded, should never be brought to the security checkpoint in carry-on luggage. If you are planning to travel with a gun, take a few minutes to package it properly for transport in checked baggage. Bringing your gun to the security checkpoint will cost you time, money and ultimately be very inconvenient for you.”
TSA will review the circumstances of the incident and levy a civil penalty against the 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.