CLEVELAND – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented two handguns from being carried onboard an airplane at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) in the past five days.
In the first incident on Thursday, Sept. 16, at around 6 p.m., TSA officials detected a firearm inside a passenger’s carry-on bag during the routine X-ray screening. When Cleveland Police were notified, the officer seized the weapon, a 9mm Glock loaded with nine rounds in the magazine. The passenger, who has a concealed carry permit, said she was switching purses and forgot the firearm was in her bag.
On Monday, Sept. 20, another firearm was caught. At approximately 5:50 a.m., a TSA PreCheck® passenger presented himself for screening, and a Transportation Security Officer identified a firearm in the passenger’s carry-on bag. Cleveland Police again responded to the checkpoint and confiscated the firearm. The firearm, a Cobra CB 38, was unloaded and had an external safety that was engaged. The passenger also has a concealed carry permit and said he forgot the gun was in his bag.
“It’s extremely disappointing that passengers continue to bring firearms to the airport checkpoint,” Ohio TSA Federal Security Director Donald Barker said. “Even when it’s done unintentionally, this is unsafe and can seriously slow or shut down security screening until the police resolve the incident.”
These are the 16th and 17th firearms detected at CLE this year. A total of 26 firearms were detected at CLE security checkpoints in 2019, and 18 last year.
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.