HUNTINGTON, W.Va – A Kentucky woman was stopped by the Transportation Security Administration at the Huntington Tri-State Airport yesterday, May 29, when TSA officers detected a loaded handgun in one of the woman’s carry-on bags.
TSA officers detected the .22 caliber handgun in the woman’s backpack as it passed along the X-ray conveyor belt. The woman, a resident of Floyd County, Kentucky, told officials that she forgot that she had her gun with her.
TSA officers immediately contacted the Huntington Tri-State Airport Police, which responded and took possession of the gun and cited the woman, a Martin, Kentucky, resident, on a state weapons charge. 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 properly packed and declared.
Firearms must be unloaded, placed 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.
Passengers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA up to $12,000.
TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. 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 2.5 million passengers and their luggage every day during the busy summer season 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.