Henry County man caught with loaded handgun at Eastern Iowa Airport checkpoint

Local Press Release
Monday, December 21, 2020
TSA officers at Eastern Iowa Airport detected this handgun in a man’s carry-on bag at the airport checkpoint on December 18. (TSA photo)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – A Henry County, Iowa, man was stopped by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at the Eastern Iowa Airport on Friday, Dec. 18, when they detected a .40 caliber handgun loaded with 13 bullets including one in the chamber in his carry-on bag.  

TSA officials notified the local police, who responded to the checkpoint and briefly detained the man, a resident of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, for questioning before citing him.

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, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an 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.

“This was the fourth firearm that a passenger has brought to the checkpoint so far this year,” said John Bright, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Iowa. “Last year five guns were caught at the checkpoint, so the fact that our officers have stopped four guns with a significant decrease in the number of passengers due to the pandemic is a disturbing trend.”

Guns caught by TSA at the Eastern Iowa Airport checkpoint 2016 to 2020







(Updated 12-20-20)

Guns caught







When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. Guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.

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