Four Firearms Intercepted by Austin-Bergstrom TSA Officers in a Single Day

Local Press Release
Tuesday, January 23, 2024

AUSTIN –On Sunday, January 21, Transportation Security Officers at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport prevented four handguns at security checkpoints from making it onboard aircraft. The firearms were fully loaded and represent 36% of the eleven guns prevented from making it onboard flights in 2024, at AUS Airport. 

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TSA immediately notified Austin Police Department when guns were detected at checkpoints. Guns are not permitted through the security checkpoint and now the four individuals face a stiff financial civil penalty from TSA. The penalty for carrying weapons can reach a maximum of $15,000.

“It is disappointing that four separate individuals arrived at the checkpoint with a loaded gun, which introduced a potentially dangerous situation that they brought upon themselves and other travelers,” said Gilbert Almaraz, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Central Texas.

“With that said, I appreciate the diligence of the officers who detected the firearms at the checkpoint and also recognize the quick response of law enforcement,” he added. “As a result of their due diligence, the deadly weapons were prevented from getting onto an airplane.”

Passengers are only permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage. Firearms must be unloaded then packed in a hard-sided locked case. The locked case should 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.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and gun owners have a responsibility to ensure they are not violating any local firearm laws. Additionally, contacting the respective airline could reveal any additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. 

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Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a gun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because a concealed carry permit does not allow a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck® privileges. 

Unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither? Download the free myTSA app, which has a handy “What can I bring?” feature that allows you to type in the item to find out if it can fly. Or ask on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA. Travelers may send a question by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872). 

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