SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Sacramento International Airport (SMF) have detected two loaded firearms in the past week during the routine X-ray screening of carry-on luggage at the security checkpoint.
On Monday, Nov. 2, TSA officers found a 9 mm HK-Heckler & Koch P2000 semi-automatic pistol loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition in the bag of a male passenger ticketed for travel to Denver International Airport. On Monday, Oct. 26, TSA officers discovered a .45 caliber Sig Sauer P220 semi-automatic pistol loaded with seven rounds of ammunition and one in the chamber in the carry-on bag of a male passenger ticketed for travel to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California.
Upon discovery of each firearm, TSA notified the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, which responded to the security checkpoint. Law enforcement interviewed the travelers and cited both of them on state charges. The weapons were confiscated and the travelers were permitted to continue on their flights.
In addition to these two firearm finds, TSA officers also detected two stuns guns over the weekend in carry-on luggage. The travelers were given the opportunity to place the stun guns in checked luggage or return them to their vehicles for storage. In both instances, the travelers chose to voluntarily abandon the stun guns to TSA at the security checkpoint and continued on their flights.
“The discovery of two loaded firearms and two stun guns at SMF in one week underscores how important it is for travelers to check the contents of their carry-on luggage prior to coming to the airport to ensure that prohibited items like these do not come to the security checkpoint,” said TSA Federal Security Director in Sacramento Sid Hanna. “Fortunately, TSA officers kept these potential security threats from making it onto an aircraft, ensuring that travelers were able to get to their destinations without incident.”
So far in 2020, TSA officers at SMF have detected 20 firearms in carry-on luggage compared to 31 firearms in all of 2019. Nationwide, TSA officers have discovered more than 2,600 firearms to date and 82% of those have been loaded. In 2019, a total of 4,432 firearms were found in carry-on luggage at airports across the country.
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.
TSA will review the circumstances of the incidents and levy a civil penalty against each of the travelers. The recommended civil penalty for a firearm starts at $2,050 and can go up to the statutory maximum of more than $10,250 per violation. Civil penalties for stun guns start at $350 and can go up to $2,050. 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 PreCheck® 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.
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, firearm parts and any type of replica firearm are prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.
At the airport during the check-in process, a traveler 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.
More information on traveling legally with a firearm is available on TSA’s website.