MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Transportation Security Administration discovered a loaded firearm at a Memphis International Airport (MEM) checkpoint Sunday morning.
At approximately 9 a.m. July 20, a loaded .40 Smith & Wesson was discovered in a passenger's carry-on bag. TSA immediately alerted airport police, who took possession of the bag and cited the passenger on local charges.
While firearms may be transported in checked baggage — provided they are declared to the airline, in a proper carrying case and unloaded — they are prohibited in carry-on bags.
TSA is reminding passengers to thoroughly search their bags for any potential dangerous weapons or prohibited items before departing for the airport. Having these items in bags that are traveling with you on the aircraft is dangerous to other travelers and can be easily mistaken as an intentional attempt to bring a prohibited item onto an aircraft.
"Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the checkpoint," said TSA Spokesperson Mark Howell. "Our advice is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items."
This is the 11th firearm discovered at a security checkpoint by TSA officers at MEM this year. Eighteen firearms were found at MEM checkpoints in 2013.
In addition to potential criminal charges, passengers who bring firearms to a checkpoint face civil penalties from TSA.