CHICAGO - Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers detected an unloaded firearm at a Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) security checkpoint on Sunday, Oct. 4.
TSA officers detected the .380 caliber firearm in a male passenger’s carry-on bag. TSA officers contacted the Chicago Police Department who confiscated the firearm and removed the passenger from the checkpoint area.
“Our TSA officers remain vigilant throughout this pandemic at our airport security checkpoints,” said TSA’s Chicago Federal Security Director Dereck Starks. “Travelers are advised to thoroughly inspect their belongings for prohibited items prior to arriving at the airport. These serious violations can possibly result in criminal penalties, civil penalties or both.”
TSA officers have detected 23 firearms at ORD security checkpoints in 2020. A total of 50 firearms were detected during screenings last 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, 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 for a period of time.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packed in a hardback, locked case, unloaded and declared at the airline check-in counter. Ammunition must be packed separately from the firearm. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality, so travelers should know the laws in the destinations that they are traveling to and from.
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.