ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) discovered a loaded firearm this morning at the security screening checkpoint at Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ).
The firearm, a .380 caliber Ruger loaded with six rounds, was discovered by TSA officers during X-ray screening of a passenger’s carry-on bag at the checkpoint. Per standard procedure, TSA alerted law enforcement. The Albuquerque police responded, interviewed the passenger, and took possession of the weapon. The passenger was later allowed to continue to a flight.
This is the 16th firearm found at the ABQ checkpoint so far this calendar year. In 2017, there were 26 firearms found at the checkpoint.
“Passengers who bring a firearm to an airport security checkpoint will be referred to law enforcement and will receive a civil penalty from TSA,” said TSA Public Affairs Manager Carrie Harmon.
TSA has the authority to level a civil penalty of up to $13,000 against a passenger who brings a firearm to an airport security checkpoint. The average penalty for a loaded firearm is $3,900.
Firearms are only allowed in checked bags, if declared to the airline and properly packed 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.
Ammunition, firearm parts and realistic replicas also cannot be carried through any TSA security checkpoint, but can travel in checked bags.
TSA found a record-breaking 3,957 firearms at airport security checkpoints around the country in 2017, a 17 percent increase over 2016.