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

Local Press Release
Sunday, September 13, 2020

PHOENIX – Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport detected two firearms Saturday during the routine X-ray screening of carry-on luggage at the security checkpoint.

The first firearm discovery occurred around 8 a.m. when TSA officers found a Smith & Wesson Merkel compact handgun loaded with seven rounds of ammunition in the carry-on bag of a traveler ticketed for travel to Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee. Around 5 p.m., a 10 mm Glock 29 pistol loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition was discovered in the carry-on bag of a traveler headed to Page Municipal Airport in Page, Arizona.

Upon discovery of each firearm, TSA notified the Phoenix Police Department, which responded to the security checkpoint. The travelers were interviewed, the weapons were given to non-travelers and both individuals were permitted to continue to their flights. There is no indication the two incidents are linked.

Saturday’s two firearm finds at Phoenix Sky Harbor bring the 2020 annual total to 73. Nationwide Saturday, TSA officers made 17 firearm discoveries in carry-on luggage while screening 613,703 people at airports across the country.  

TSA will review the circumstances of both incidents and levy a civil penalty against each of the passengers. The recommended civil penalty for a firearm starts at $2,050 and can go up to the statutory maximum of more than $13,669 per violation. 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 Trusted Traveler status and TSA PreCheckTM 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. S&W compact gun pic

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.

At the airport 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.

Stun guns and other electro-shock weapons are never allowed in carry-on luggage. In addition, they must be transported in checked baggage in such a manner that the device is inoperable from accidental discharge.

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