TSA officers at Salt Lake City International Airport discover three loaded firearms, stun gun in travelers’ carry-on luggage this week

Local Press Release
Thursday, July 23, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY - Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) have detected three guns this week during the routine X-ray screening of carry-on luggage at the security checkpoint. These are the 38th, 39th and 40th guns discovered by TSA this year at SLC.

  • Today at 12:40 p.m., a TSA officer found a loaded Springfield XTE .45 handgun in the carry-on bag of a male traveler headed to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. 
  • On Wednesday around 8 p.m., a TSA officer discovered a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver loaded with five rounds of ammunition in the carry-on bag of a female traveler flying to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
  • On Monday around 10:30 p.m., a TSA officer detected a loaded 9 mm Glock 19 pistol loaded with six rounds of ammunition in the carry-on bag of a male traveler ticketed to fly to Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport. 

Upon the discovery of each firearm, TSA notified the Salt Lake City Police Department Airport Bureau, which responded to the security checkpoint. Law enforcement interviewed the travelers, confiscated the firearms and allowed each of them to continue on their flights. 

These three firearms found at SLC are among more than 30 firearms detected by TSA nationwide in carry-on luggage over the past three days. Since January 1, 2020, TSA officers have discovered 1,454 firearms at airport security checkpoints across the country.

In addition to the loaded firearms, on Tuesday around 11:30 a.m., a TSA officer detected a flashlight-style stun gun in the carry-on bag of a female traveler ticketed for travel to Chicago O’Hare International Airport. TSA notified airport law enforcement, which responded and interviewed her. The traveler was offered the opportunity to place the stun gun in checked baggage, but chose to leave the item behind. 

“Despite a reduction in the number of travelers screened through airport security checkpoints, TSA continues to discover guns and other weapons in carry-on luggage,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Utah Mark Lewis. “These three incidents should serve as a vivid reminder to all travelers that TSA officers are on the lookout for prohibited items, preventing them from making it into the cabin of a commercial aircraft.”

TSA will review the circumstances of the incidents and levy a civil penalty against each passengers. The recommended civil penalty for a firearm starts at $2,050 and can go up to the statutory maximum of more than $10,250 per violation. Civil penalties for stun guns start at $350 and can go up to $2,050. 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 PreCheckTM 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 should 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. 

Stun guns and other electro-shock weapons are never allowed in carry-on luggage. In addition, they must be transported in checked baggage in such a manner that the device is inoperable from accidental discharge. 

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