TSA intercepts gun at Des Moines International Airport

Local Press Release
Friday, July 23, 2021
This handgun was detected by TSA officers in a passenger’s carry-on bag at Des Moines International Airport (DSM) on July 22. (TSA photo

DES MOINES – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented a handgun from making its way onboard an airplane at Des Moines International Airport (DSM) Wednesday.

During the routine screening of carry-on luggage, a TSA officer spotted the image of a handgun on the X-ray screen. The incident occurred around 4:15 a.m., and TSA officials immediately alerted the Des Moines Police Department. The firearm was loaded. The law enforcement officer responded, confiscated the firearm, and issued a citation.

“With summer travel ramping up, our TSA Officers continue to do a fantastic job preventing dangerous and deadly items, including firearms, from entering the secure area of the airport,” Iowa TSA Federal Security Director John Bright said. “We want to remind everyone planning to fly out of Des Moines to carefully inspect your bag before you pack it and head to the airport. This simple act could save you lots of time and money, along with avoiding possible arrest with local law enforcement.”

TSA may impose civil penalties of up to $13,910 per violation per person. A typical first offense for carrying a loaded handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100. The complete list of civil penalties is on the TSA website. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges for a period of time.

This is the fourth firearm detected at DSM this year. A total of 12 firearms were detected at DSM security checkpoints in 2019, and 7 last year.

 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. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should check for firearm laws in the jurisdictions they are flying to and from.

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.