CLEVELAND – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented two handguns from being carried onboard an airplane at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) in the past week.
In the first incident on Monday, Sept. 27, at around 6:15 a.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, which was loaded with five rounds, and cited the passenger.
On Sunday, Oct. 3, another firearm was caught. At approximately 5:30 a.m., a 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, which was loaded. The passenger has a concealed carry permit from Virginia and said he did not realize the gun was in his bag.
“Our officers are extremely vigilant in keeping firearms and other weapons from being carried onto flights,” Ohio TSA Federal Security Director Donald Barker said. “We’re seeing far too many guns at airport checkpoints. Passengers who are traveling with firearms need to ensure they are properly packed in their checked baggage.”
These are the 18th and 19th 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.