WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented a man from carrying his loaded handgun onto a flight at Westchester County Airport on Sunday, Sept. 18. The 9mm handgun was loaded with seven bullets including one in the chamber.
A TSA officer spotted the handgun on the checkpoint X-ray machine’s monitor as the man’s belongings entered the X-ray unit. TSA immediately alerted the Westchester County Police, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and detained the man, a resident of Georgia, for questioning before arresting him. The man also faces a federal financial civil penalty for bringing a gun to an airport security checkpoint.
It was the third handgun that TSA officers have stopped at the airport checkpoint so far this year.
“Bringing a loaded handgun to a TSA security checkpoint is a serious matter. Our officers are good at preventing prohibited items and deadly weapons from getting past the checkpoints and people who try to bring a gun onto a flight will face a federal civil penalty,” said Robert Duffy, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport.
Guns can be transported on a flight if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and declared to the airline. The airline will be sure that the gun travels with checked baggage in the belly of the plane, never in the cabin of the plane. Additionally, replica firearms also are prohibited in carry-on baggage and also must be transported in checked luggage.
At the airport during the check-in process, a passenger needs to go to the airline ticket counter to declare the firearm, ammunition and any firearm parts.
Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances. Among the factors TSA considers when determining the civil penalty amount include whether the firearm was loaded and whether there was accessible ammunition. Civil penalties apply 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.
Individuals who violate rules regarding traveling with guns will have Trusted Traveler status and TSA PreCheck® expedited screening benefits revoked.
TSA has additional traveler information specifically related to the transportation of firearms and ammunition posted on its website. A full summary of TSA’s civil penalties for prohibited items is also available online.
TSA reminds passengers to always know the contents of their carry-on bag prior to coming to the security checkpoint. TSA has multiple resources available to passengers to help them determine whether an item is permitted in carry-on baggage, checked baggage, either or neither.
Travelers can use the “Can I Bring?” feature on the TSA website or on the free downloadable myTSA app. Travelers can also Tweet or Message “@AskTSA” if they have a travel question or are unsure if an item is allowed through security in a carry-on bag. Just snap a picture or send a question and get real-time assistance weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.