TSA officers in Oregon discover six firearms in carry-on luggage in 10 days

Discoveries come during busy Fourth of July travel period
Local Press Release
Thursday, July 8, 2021
Firearm discovered in carry-on luggage Wednesday at PDX.

PORTLAND, Oregon - Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in Oregon discovered six firearms - all of them loaded - over a 10-day period during the routine X-ray screening of carry-on luggage at security checkpoints. Five of the firearms were discovered in carry-on luggage at Portland International Airport (PDX) and one was discovered at the Rogue Valley International -Medford Airport (MFR).

The most recent firearm find occurred today around 9:30 a.m. at PDX. A TSA officer saw the image of a firearm on the X-ray screen, immediately stopped all screening and notified law enforcement, which responded to the security checkpoint. Other recent firearm discoveries at PDX occurred on June 28 at 11 p.m.; July1 at 9 p.m.; July 4 at 12:45 p.m.; and July 5 at 8:30 a.m. TSA officers at MFR discovered a firearm in carry-on luggage on June 30 at 5 p.m.

“The discovery of six loaded firearms in 10 days in Oregon is an astounding number. Travelers take note: check the contents of your carry-on luggage prior to coming to the airport to ensure that you do not bring prohibited items like these to the security checkpoint,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Oregon Stephen Taber. “Fortunately, TSA officers kept these potential security threats from making it onto an aircraft, ensuring that travelers were able to get to their destinations without incident. The traveling public should be grateful for the attentive and watchful eye of TSA officers here and nationwide who are responsible for securing our transportation system.”

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.

TSA will review the circumstances of each firearm incident and levy a civil penalty against each of the travelers. The recommended civil penalty for a firearm starts at $2,050 and can go up to the statutory maximum of more than $10,000 per violation.

In addition to civil penalties, individuals who violate rules regarding traveling with firearms will have Trusted Traveler status and TSA PreCheck® expedited screening benefits revoked for a period of time. The duration of the disqualification will depend upon the seriousness of the offense and if there is a repeated history of violations.

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

At the airport during the check-in process, a traveler should go to the airline ticket counter to declare the firearm, ammunition and any firearm parts. Prior to traveling, passengers are encouraged to check gun laws and regulations at their destination to ensure they are in compliance with local and state laws. TSA also recommends travelers check with their airline prior to their flight to ensure they comply with any airline-specific requirements. More information on traveling legally with a firearm is available on TSA’s website.

Here are some tips for travelers on how to ensure the most efficient and quickest trip through the security checkpoint.

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: 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 4: 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 are two enrollment centers in the Portland area including one at 10350 N. Vancouver Way in Portland and another at 9013 NE Highway 99 in Vancouver, Wash.

In June 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.