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

Second gun caught within a 5-day period
Local Press Release
Friday, August 21, 2020
This loaded handgun was detected by TSA officers at Huntington Tri-State Airport on Aug. 21. (TSA photo)

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Transportation Security Administration officers at Huntington Tri-State Airport stopped a Kentucky woman with a loaded gun in one of her carry-on bags on Thursday, Aug. 20. It was the second gun that TSA officers detected within the last five days. On Aug. 15, TSA officers caught a Lincoln County, West Virginia, woman with a loaded gun in one of her carry-on bags.

The Kentucky woman had a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets plus two loaded magazines. TSA officials notified the local police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and detained the woman 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.

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns with them at a checkpoint. A typical first offense for carrying a loaded handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100 and can go as high as $13,669 depending on any mitigating circumstances. 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. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck™, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck™ privileges.

“During this pandemic, our TSA officers are working to ensure a secure flight for passengers and crew while mitigating health risks,” said John Allen, TSA’s Federal Security Director for West Virginia. “Nobody should be introducing a gun in the checkpoint environment. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

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







Guns caught






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.