TSA discovers loaded firearm at McGhee Tyson Airport checkpoint

Local Press Release
Monday, March 15, 2021

ALCOA, Tenn. - The Transportation Security Administration discovered a loaded firearm at a McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) checkpoint this morning. 

At approximately 6:30 a.m., a Smith & Wesson handgun with a loaded magazine was detected in a passenger’s carry-on bag. TSA immediately alerted airport police, who took possession of the bag and escorted the passenger out of the checkpoint area.

While firearms may be transported in checked baggage (provided they are declared to the airline, in a proper carrying case and unloaded), they are prohibited in carry-on bags.

Security is the first concern of the TSA, and having these items in bags that are traveling with you on the aircraft is dangerous to other travelers and can be easily mistaken as an intentional attempt to bring a prohibited item onto an aircraft. 

“Even with much lower than normal passenger numbers, we continue to find firearms at a very high rate at security checkpoints,” said Steve Wood, TSA Federal Security Director for Tennessee. “Passengers must remember they’re responsible for the contents of bags and our advice is they thoroughly inspect all personal belongings to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items before coming to the airport.”

This is the fourth firearm detected by TSA officers at TYS security checkpoints this year.  A total of seven were found there in 2020.

In addition to potential criminal charges, passengers who bring firearms to a checkpoint face civil penalties from TSA: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/civil-enforcement

For more information about TSA prohibited items, please follow these links: