PORTLAND, Maine – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers stopped a 65-year-old male from carrying a loaded firearm onto an airplane at Portland International Jetport (PWM) on Monday, July 19. It was the fourth firearm detection this year by TSA officers at PWM security checkpoints.
On Monday morning a TSA officer detected a loaded .38 caliber firearm along with a magazine containing five rounds in the man’s carry-on bag. Portland Police responded, and escorted the passenger to his vehicle to secure the firearm.
“Summer travel is in full swing and it has been very busy, but our TSA officers continue to do a fantastic job preventing firearms from entering the secure area of the airport,” said Bob Allison, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Maine. “Passengers who are traveling with firearms need to ensure they are properly packed in their checked baggage. When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm it can slow or shut down security screening until the police resolve the incident.”
The last time PWM saw four firearm detections was 2018. In 2020, TSA officers discovered two firearms at PWM security checkpoints and three in 2019.
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.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed separately from ammunition in a locked hardback case and declared at the airline check-in counter.
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.