TSA stops woman with loaded handgun at Appleton International Airport

Local Press Release
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
This loaded handgun was detected by TSA officers in a passenger’s carry-on bag at Appleton International Airport on September 4. (TSA photo)

APPLETON, Wis. – Transportation Security Administration officers (TSA) stopped a woman from carrying a loaded .38 caliber handgun onto an airplane at Appleton International Airport (ATW) on Friday, September 4.

At approximately 7:30 a.m., a TSA officer detected the gun in the woman’s carry-on bag lining. They immediately alerted the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department and a deputy responded to the checkpoint and confiscated the weapon.

“Under no circumstances should a passenger bring a firearm to an airport security checkpoint,” said Mark Lendvay Wisconsin’s TSA Federal Security Director. “Passengers who wish to travel with a firearm, permissible in a checked bag only, should check with their airline and review TSA’s rules before coming to the airport.”

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, they are still not permitted to bring a firearm into the passenger section of the 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.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at the airline check-in counter. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should check for firearm laws in the jurisdictions they are flying to and from.

Nationwide last year, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging approximately 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.