SEATTLE – Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) discovered two firearms in less than 24 hours during the routine screening of carry-on baggage.
A TSA officer found the first firearm - an unloaded .380 caliber Bersa Thunder pistol - around 8:15 a.m. Sunday in the bag of a male passenger ticketed for travel to Portland International Airport. In addition to the pistol, the passenger had 50 rounds of ammunition and two empty magazines in his carry-on bag.
The second gun - a .380 caliber Taurus TCP semi-automatic pistol loaded with six rounds of ammunition - was discovered Monday around 6 a.m. It was found in the carry-on of a male passenger traveling to Nashville International Airport.
In both instances, when the TSA officer saw the image of the firearm on the X-ray screen, the Port of Seattle Police Department was notified and responded to the security checkpoint. Both passengers were arrested and later released after being cited on state charges.
These are the first firearms of 2018 discovered at Sea-Tac Airport. In 2017, TSA officers at Sea-Tac Airport discovered 78 guns in carry-on baggage.
Firearms, ammunition, firearm parts and realistic replicas of firearms are always prohibited in carry-on baggage. However, these items can be transported in checked baggage provided the traveler declares them to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
Firearms in checked baggage must be unloaded and stored in a locked, hard-sided container. TSA urges passengers to contact their airline for specific firearm and ammunition policies and to check local laws related to the carrying and transport of firearms.
In addition to facing local or state criminal charges, TSA reserves the right to levy a civil penalty of up to $9,800 for bringing a dangerous weapon like a firearm to the checkpoint. Each penalty is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. More information on TSA’s civil penalties can be found here.
TSA reminds passengers to be aware of the contents of their carry-on bag prior to coming to the security checkpoint. Additional traveler information specifically related to the commercial air transport of firearms and ammunition can be found here.