Man caught with loaded handgun at Eastern Iowa Airport checkpoint

Local Press Release
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
TSA officers at Eastern Iowa Airport detected this handgun in a man’s carry-on backpack at the airport checkpoint on Sept. 6. (TSA photo)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – An Arizona man was stopped by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at the Eastern Iowa Airport on Sunday, Sept. 6, when they detected a 9 mm handgun in his carry-on bag. Three magazines loaded with a total of 40 bullets were also detected with the gun.

TSA officials notified the local police, who responded to the checkpoint and briefly detained the man for questioning before allowing him to return the gun to his vehicle. It was the third gun that TSA officers detected at the airport checkpoint so far this 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.

“It is critical that passengers are aware of the contents of both their carry-on baggage as well as their checked baggage prior to traveling to prevent this type of security incident,” said Nicolas Menke, TSA’s Assistant Federal Security Director for Iowa. “Throughout the pandemic, our officers continue to remain vigilant and focused on security. They are very skilled at detecting prohibited and illegal items.”

Guns caught by TSA at the Eastern Iowa Airport checkpoint 2016 to 2020







(Updated 9-7-20)

Guns caught







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.

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.