DES MOINES – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented a handgun from making its way onboard an airplane at Des Moines International Airport (DSM) Tuesday – the second catch in less than a week.
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 2:45 p.m., and TSA officials immediately alerted the Des Moines Police Department. The firearm, a 9mm pistol, was loaded with one bullet chambered. Additionally, a magazine with 10 rounds of 9mm ammunition was found in a separate part of the bag. The passenger, a resident of Surprise, Arizona, received a citation.
This is the fifth firearm detected at DSM this year. A total of 12 firearms were detected at DSM security checkpoints in 2019, and seven last year.
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.
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.