COLUMBUS, Ohio - Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers discovered a firearm and 70 rounds ammunition in a man’s carry-on bag at a John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH) checkpoint Monday.
At approximately 6:30 a.m., during X-ray screening, a TSA officer detected an unloaded 9 mm firearm with a box of 50 rounds of ammunition and two magazines, each containing 10 rounds. TSA officers contacted local law enforcement, who confiscated the firearm and ammunition.
“Our TSA officers remain vigilant on keeping our travelers safe during this pandemic,” said Don Barker, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Ohio. “Firearms, loaded or not, represent a potentially serious threat and passengers are reminded to check their belongings prior to arriving at the airport security checkpoint.”
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at check-in with the airline. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, and locked. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
TSA officers have detected 11 firearms at CMH security checkpoints in 2020. A total of 29 firearms were detected during screenings last year.
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.
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.