Loaded handgun stopped by TSA at Huntington Tri-State Airport checkpoint

Local Press Release
Monday, August 17, 2020
This loaded handgun was detected by TSA officers at Huntington Tri-State Airport on Aug. 15. (TSA photo)

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Lincoln County, West Virginia, woman was stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers at Huntington Tri-State Airport on Saturday, Aug. 15, when they detected a .22 caliber handgun in her carry-on bag. It was loaded with four bullets.

TSA officials notified the local police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and detained the woman, a resident of Branchland, West Virginia, for questioning prior to citing her on weapons charges.

When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. Guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.

“During this pandemic, we are doing what we can to reduce touch-points to help prevent any cross-contamination, but when someone has a gun in their carry-on bag, it means that you will have to stay at the checkpoint longer, and a police officer is going to have to open that bag and go inside to remove it, thus creating additional touch-points and increasing the possibility of cross-contamination,” said John Allen, TSA’s Federal Security Director for West Virginia. “Now more than ever, this is the time to take extra care not to have any weapons in your carry-on bag before you head to the airport. Check your purse, knapsack, messenger bag, laptop bag, duffle bag or whatever else you plan to carry on a plane to ensure there are no prohibited items inside.”

Guns caught by TSA at the Huntington Tri-State Airport checkpoint 2016 to 2020







Guns caught







TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns with them at a checkpoint. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online.

Nationwide last year, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 12.1 firearms per day, approximately a 5% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 4,239 detected in 2018. Eighty-seven percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.