Idaho TSA reminds travelers to travel properly with firearms on a commercial aircraft

Firearm discovered Tuesday in carry-on luggage at Boise Airport
Local Press Release
Wednesday, June 30, 2021

BOISE, Idaho – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reminded travelers to be fully aware of the contents of their carry-on luggage prior to coming to the security checkpoint following the discovery of a loaded firearm in the bag of a female passenger ticketed for travel from the Boise Airport to Portland International Airport Tuesday afternoon.

During the routine screening of carry-on luggage, a TSA officer spotted the image of a handgun on the x-ray screen. TSA immediately notified the Boise Airport police department, which responded to the security checkpoint. The firearm - a 9 mm Sig Sauer P365 semi-automatic pistol - was loaded with 19 rounds of ammunition. This is the fifth firearm discovered by TSA in carry-on luggage at Boise in 2021.

TSA will review the circumstances of the incident and levy a civil penalty of up to $10,000 against the passenger. The incident has been referred to the Ada County prosecutor’s office for review.

“This is another example of a passenger not taking time to check the contents of their carry-on luggage, which resulted in an expensive and inconvenient series of events,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Idaho Andy Coose. “In addition, this passenger’s actions slowed down the security screening process for travelers who were coming through the security checkpoint around the same time. With the number of people departing Boise Airport this summer, please be aware of what you have in your carry-on luggage.”

Firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case, declared to the airline and placed in checked baggage. Ammunition, firearm parts and any type of replica firearm are also prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be checked.

Departing passenger screening volumes at Boise are currently more than 110% of 2019 volumes and are expected to increase throughout the summer months. With a peak number of travelers and the Fourth of July weekend ahead, it is critical that travelers come prepared for the screening process to ensure the most efficient experience for everyone.

The busiest times at the TSA security checkpoint at BOI are 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The busiest days to travel are Thursdays and Fridays as well as Sundays and Mondays.

These peaks are driven by the flight departure schedules determined by the airlines. When there is a concentrated number of flight departures over a short period of time, there will be intervals when the number of departing passengers exceeds the capacity of the TSA security checkpoint at Boise. This is why it is essential that travelers arrive well ahead of their flight departure to allow for completion of every step of the travel process from curb to gate.

Additionally, new airlines are providing service to new cities from Boise and legacy airlines have increased the number of departing flights. In addition, some airlines are flying larger aircraft on some routes, increasing the number of travelers who need to be screened during peak times.

Here are some additional tips to help everyone’s trip through the security checkpoint go smoothly during the summer travel season:

Step 1: Pack smart
Travelers should be aware of the contents of their carry-on bags and make sure they are not bringing prohibited items to the security checkpoint. Any type of prohibited item in a carry-on slows down the screening process for everyone, leading to delays in the security checkpoint.

To determine whether an item is allowed or prohibited in carry-on luggage, download the MyTSA app and use the “Can I Bring?” feature. By planning ahead, travelers can avoid a bag check and reduce the potential for cross-contamination. Another option is to contact @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger to get answers to your travel questions.

Step 2: Secure items in your carry-on
When removing items from pockets such as phones, wallets, keys or loose change, secure them in their carry-on bags instead of placing them directly in bins, which are a common use item. This will prevent travelers from inadvertently leaving these important items behind at the security checkpoint. In addition, as an added benefit, this reduces the number of touchpoints among travelers.  

Step 3: Traveling with hand sanitizer
TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. Passengers may also bring hand wipes of any size or quantity through security checkpoints.

Step 4: Leave bear spray and camping fuel behind
Don’t let your enthusiasm for outdoor activities result in your bringing bear spray, camping fuel, fireworks or other items that are prohibited in carry-on and checked luggage. Not sure if you can travel with certain items? Review TSA’s travel advice website.

Step 5: Enroll in TSA PreCheck® today
People can “Travel with Ease” and experience a smoother screening process by enrolling in TSA PreCheck®. Eligible travelers do not need to remove shoes, belts, light outerwear, laptops, electronics larger than a cell phone or travel-size liquids from carry-on luggage.

There is an enrollment center located in Staples at 6299 N. Eagle Road in Boise. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. In May 2021, 97% of travelers eligible for TSA PreCheck waited five minutes or less to be screened at airports nationwide. Another benefit of the program is that children 12 and under are permitted to use the TSA PreCheck lane when traveling with an eligible parent or guardian on the same itinerary.