USA Flag

Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

West Virginia man caught trying to bring gun through TSA checkpoint

Local Press Release
Sunday, January 3, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –  A Logan County, West Virginia, man was cited on a state weapons charge after he was stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers at the Yeager Airport checkpoint yesterday, January 2, when the TSA officers detected a handgun in one of the man’s carry-on bags.

TSA officers detected the .38 caliber semi-automatic handgun in the man’s carry-on bag as he was passing through the airport checkpoint. It was loaded with five bullets. The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine detected the gun inside the traveler’s carry-on bag as it passed along the conveyor belt. The man said that he forgot that he had the gun in his possession.

TSA officers immediately contacted the Yeager Airport Police, which responded and took possession of the gun and cited the man, a Chapmanville, West Virginia, resident, on a state weapons charge. He was ticketed to fly to Washington Dulles International Airport. There was no impact to airport operations.

This incident serves as a reminder that passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the security checkpoint, and TSA’s advice to passengers is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items. 

Weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are not permitted in carry-on bags, but can be transported in checked bags if they are unloaded, properly packed and declared to the airline. Passengers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA up to $11,000.  

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted here. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.

TSA screens approximately 2 million passengers and their luggage every day for prohibited items, including weapons and explosives. To do this, TSA uses imaging technology to safely screen passengers for any items which may be concealed under clothing, while X-ray units screen all carry-on baggage.