CLEVELAND – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented a loaded handgun from making its way onboard an airplane at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) Tuesday.
This is the 13th firearm detected at CLE this year, and the fifth in the month of August. A total of 26 firearms were detected at CLE security checkpoints in 2019, and 18 last year.
The incident occurred around 5 a.m., and TSA officials immediately alerted Cleveland Police. The officer seized the weapon, loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition. Additional ammunition was also in the bag. The passenger, who has a concealed carry permit, said he uses his firearm at work and forgot it was in his bag.
“Gun owners need to know that we mean business when we detect a firearm at a checkpoint,” said Ohio TSA Federal Security Director Donald Barker. “We take it extremely seriously when our officers stop a traveler with a gun or any other prohibited item during the screening process. Guns are never allowed on flights.”
TSA issues civil penalties to travelers who bring guns to a checkpoint. 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.