TSA warns about frequency of guns carried in Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) security checkpoints

100th gun found in traveler’s carry-on luggage
Local Press Release
Tuesday, August 23, 2022

AUSTIN, TX --Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials are concerned about the frequency that they are seeing travelers carry handguns to security checkpoints in Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). The temperature is not the only thing in the 100’s this year, TSA officers have prevented the 100th gun from making it on airplanes in AUS. Most of those guns are found to be loaded.

“Once again our officers are on top of preventing firearms from entering the secure area of the airport,” said Gilbert Almaraz, TSA’s Federal Security Director at AUS. “Carelessly traveling with a loaded firearm is a public safety concern, considering it could accidentally be discharged during a search.”

A properly packed firearm sits in a hard-sided case and is locked. This case must be locked then taken to the check-in counter for the airline to transport it in the belly of the plane. (TSA photo)

 “The most common excuse we hear is that someone forgot that they had their gun with them,” said Gilbert Almaraz, TSA’s Federal Security Director for AUS. “That’s no excuse. If you own a firearm, you need to know where it is at all times. It’s part of being a responsible gun owner.”

The TSA team at AUS Airport detected 110 guns at the security checkpoints in 2021, and in 2022 TSA officers at AUS Airport have stopped 100 guns from making it onto airplanes.  

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter. Firearms must be unloaded, placed in a hard-sided locked case, and packed separately from ammunition. Then the locked case must be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

TSA officers at (SPOKE) Airport stopped a traveler from bringing this gun and ammunition onto a plane earlier this year. (TSA photo)

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who bring weapons with them to a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating or aggravating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

“The penalties are stiff for carrying a gun to a checkpoint,” Almaraz said. “You could face criminal penalties on top of federal civil citations that can be extremely costly. My advice is to not make the mistake of bringing your gun to the checkpoint in the first place. We’re happy to help transport your firearm. All we ask is that you pack it safely and properly for your flight.”

TSA officers at AUS Airport prevented a traveler from bringing this loaded handgun onto a flight. It is the 100th firearm found by TSA officers at AUS Airport.

Travelers are responsible for the contents of bags and TSA recommends that travelers go through their carry-on and checked bags before they head to the airport to ensure that they have no illegal or prohibited items inside. Carrying a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a stiff federal civil penalty that can run into the thousands of dollars. Even if someone has a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane.

TSA firearms catches at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport checkpoints 2018 to 2022






2022 As of 8/22/22

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)






Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and passengers should do their homework to make sure that they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 5,972 guns at airport security checkpoints last year. Eighty-six percent of those guns were loaded.