AUSTIN, Texas – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has found seven firearms this month at security screening checkpoints at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), bringing the total so far this year to 47.
“As of today, we already have exceeded the total number of firearms intercepted at our checkpoints compared to the same time last year,” said Mike Scott, TSA federal security director for AUS. “This is a good opportunity to remind passengers that firearms are not allowed in carry-on bags, but can travel in checked bags, if declared to the airline and are unloaded and properly packed in a locked, hard-sided case.” Ammunition, firearm parts and realistic replicas also are not allowed in carry-on bags.
Per standard procedure, TSA alerts law enforcement when a firearm is found at a security checkpoint. The Austin Police Department responds, takes possession of the weapon and interviews the passenger. Any determination about a criminal charge is up to law enforcement.
In calendar year 2015, TSA at AUS intercepted 54 firearms at security checkpoints, up from 44 in 2014 and 23 in 2013. Nationwide, TSA officers have found more than 2,200 firearms at airport checkpoints so far this year. In 2015, TSA found 2,653 firearms in carry-on bags at airports, which was a 20 percent increase over 2014.
TSA has the authority to levy a civil penalty of up to $12,000 against a passenger who brings a firearm to the checkpoint. The average penalty for a loaded firearm is $3,000, and $1,500 for an unloaded firearm.
TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.