TSA officers at Phoenix Sky-Harbor International Airport discover two loaded firearms in one day in travelers’ carry-on luggage

Local Press Release
Monday, August 24, 2020

PHOENIX, Arizona - Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport detected two loaded firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage in one day, during X-ray screening of traveler belongings at the security checkpoints.

On Thursday, Aug. 20, TSA officers discovered a loaded .40 caliber Glock with 13 rounds of ammunition, in the carry-on bag of a male passenger. On the same day, TSA officers discovered a second loaded gun, a 9 mm SIG Sauer with eight rounds in the bag of male passenger. There is no evidence that the incidents are linked.

“TSA officers remain focused on their role, of making airline travel safer and continue to prevent security threats onboard an airplane. Firearms, whether loaded or unloaded, are prohibited items and should never be brought to the security checkpoint in carry-on luggage,” said TSA Federal Security Director (FSD) Jerry Agnew for Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

So far in 2020, TSA officers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport have detected 62 firearms in carry-on bags. Nationwide, TSA officers have discovered over 1,700 firearms to date and 84% of those have been loaded. In 2019, a total of 4,432 firearms were found  in  carry-on luggage  at airports  across the country.

“If a gun, is brought to the TSA screening checkpoint, the passenger may face a civil penalty that can exceed $13,000 and the fine is imposed even if you are not arrested or cited by our law enforcement partners,” noted FSD Agnew. “In order to maintain social distancing and not have to face a bag search, passengers are reminded to know precisely what is in their bags before leaving for the airport.”

TSA will review the circumstances of the incident and may levy a civil penalty against the offending passenger. Factors TSA considers when determining the civil penalty include whether the firearm was loaded and was the ammunition accessible. 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 their Trusted Traveler status and TSA Prehecktm 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.

Only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock unless TSA personnel request the key to open the firearm container to ensure compliance with TSA regulations. Any type of replica firearm is prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.

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.

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