TSA detects loaded handgun at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport

First firearm discovered at SBA in carry-on luggage in 2020
Local Press Release
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

SANTA BARBARA, California - Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA) discovered a loaded firearm in the carry-on luggage of a male traveler ticketed for travel to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Tuesday morning. This is the first firearm discovered in a carry-on bag by TSA at SBA this year.

The firearm, a .380 caliber Beretta Pico, was loaded with six rounds of ammunition. A TSA officer spotted the image of the gun on the x-ray screen at 9:35 a.m. during the routine screening of carry-on luggage.

TSA notified officers with the Santa Barbara Airport Patrol, who responded to the security checkpoint. They interviewed the traveler and confiscated the weapon. The passenger was allowed to continue to his flight.

“TSA officers at SBA and at airports around the country continue to screen for security threats in order to keep them off of commercial aircraft. Whether detecting firearms, or other items prohibited in carry-on luggage, TSA remains focused on our security mission to protect the traveling public,” said TSA Federal Security Director for SBA Anita Minaei. “For those who are planning on traveling with a firearm, follow the rules or you will find it can be an inconvenient and costly mistake.”

TSA will review the circumstances of the incident and levy a civil penalty against the passenger. 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.

The firearm discovery by TSA at SBA was one of 10 firearms discovered at airport security checkpoints nationwide on Tuesday. Of those discoveries, nine of the firearms were loaded. To date in 2020, TSA officers nationwide have discovered 2,159 firearms in carry-on luggage.

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 rules. 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.