TSA catches local man with loaded handgun at Des Moines International Airport

Local Press Release
Friday, January 22, 2021
This loaded handgun was detected by TSA officers in a man’s carry-on bag on Jan. 21, at Des Moines International Airport. (TSA photo.)

DES MOINES, Iowa –Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers caught a Des Moines resident with a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets in his carry-on bag at Des Moines International Airport on Thursday, Jan. 21.

TSA officials immediately alerted the Des Moines Police, who responded to the checkpoint, and confiscated the firearm from the traveler before citing him on a local weapons charge. 

“It’s disappointing to see someone start the new year carrying his gun to the checkpoint when it is so simple to transport it properly in a checked bag,” said John Bright, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Iowa. “If someone owns a firearm and wants to travel with it, I strongly encourage them to do just a little homework. Visit the TSA web site, www.tsa.gov, to learn the proper way to travel with a firearm. Check with your airline to find out if they have any firearm restrictions. And make sure that you are properly permitted in the states you are flying to and from. If you take these responsible steps, you should have no issues transporting your firearm.”  

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts 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.

To travel with a firearm, gun owners need to make sure it is unloaded, placed in a locked hard-sided case and declared to their airline so it will be transported in the belly of the plane for the flight.

TSA has more details on how to properly travel with a firearm and ammunition posted on its website.