OMAHA, Neb. – A Sarpy County, Nebraska, man was stopped by the Transportation Security Administration with a .40 caliber handgun loaded with 10 bullets at the Eppley Airfield checkpoint on Friday, Jan. 22.
TSA officers caught the handgun as it entered the checkpoint X-ray machine. Omaha Airport Authority Police were alerted and confiscated the gun. The man, a resident of Bellevue, Nebraska, now faces a stiff Federal financial civil penalty.
“Getting caught with a loaded gun at a checkpoint was not a good way to start the new year for this traveler,” said Michael Fowler, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Nebraska. “If you want to travel with your firearm, there are a few simple steps someone should take. First they should visit the TSA web site to learn the proper way to transport their gun. Then they should check with their airline to find out if the airline has any restrictions on traveling with firearms. Finally, it’s vital to know if you are properly permitted in the states you are flying to and from. If you take these steps, do a little homework, you’ll have no issues transporting a firearm.”
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.
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.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
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.