TSA reminds travelers to leave guns at home

Know what’s in your suitcase, purse, backpack or computer bag
Local Press Release
Tuesday, August 25, 2020

ORLANDO – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Orlando International Airport (MCO) have stopped nine guns so far this month, including two guns each on three different days.

Year-to-date, 44 guns have been intercepted by the TSA at MCO. 

“Before packing your bags, open all pockets and compartments of the luggage,”  said Deputy Federal Security Director Greg Hawko. “Do not place a weapon in the luggage unless you are planning on declaring it with the airline and checking the bag. Carrying prohibited items into the checkpoint will slow your security process and could be a very expensive mistake.”

Passengers bringing a firearm to a TSA federal security checkpoint will be assessed a civil penalty that can reach more than $13,000 in addition to criminal penalties determined by our law enforcement partners.

"The Orlando Police Department strives to ensure the highest level of safety for the visitors traveling through the Orlando International Airport,” noted Lieutenant Daniel R. Brady. “This includes strictly enforcing violations of Florida Law associated with unlawfully bringing a firearm into a TSA security screening checkpoint."   

The most recent gun was stopped on Saturday. The gun was loaded with five rounds, one of which was chambered. 

Over the past several weeks, TSA has experienced a steady growth of travelers coming through airport checkpoints and an escalating number of passengers forgetting to leave their guns and other prohibited items at home.

 In addition to the gun stopped on Saturday, TSA officers working at MCO stopped one gun on August 3rd, one on August 6th, two on August 7th, two on August 14th, and two on August 21st.

In addition to this important reminder about guns, TSA has made a number of modifications that travelers should heed:

Separate food for X-ray screening. Passengers should place their carry-on food items into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin. Food items often trigger an alarm during the screening process; separating the food from the carry-on bag lessens the likelihood that a TSA officer will need to open the carry-on bag and remove the food items for a closer inspection. This requirement allows social distancing, reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a person’s container of food and reduces potential for cross-contamination. TSA Precheck members do not need to remove items from their bags.

Remember 3-1-1. Liquids, gels and aerosols shoulc be 3.4 ounces or less in carry-on bags except in response to COVID-19, TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. Passengers are required to remove the hand sanitizer from the carry-on bag before being submitted for X-ray screening.

Maintain social distancing. Passengers should maintain social distance from other travelers throughout their security experience – in the queue, through the screening process, while collecting items from bins and after completing the security screening process.

 Wear facial protection. TSA officers are wearing facial protection. Travelers at airports such as MCO are required to wear face protection as well.  Passengers may need to adjust their masks during the screening process.

Pass on the bins. Travelers are encouraged to remove items such as belts and items from their pockets, like wallets, keys and phones, and put them directly into their carry-on bags instead of into the bins to reduce touch-points during the screening process.

The TSA reminds passengers that in addition to guns, knives, tools greater than 7 inches and martial arts devices are not permitted in carry-on bags. Firearms may be transported in your checked bag if they are declared to the airline at check-in, unloaded and placed in a locked, hard-sided case. The traveler is responsible for knowing the gun laws within the state of departure and the state of arrival, as well as municipal laws, if applicable.