AUSTIN, Texas — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has intercepted two loaded firearms so far this week at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). The first was found on Tuesday, Oct. 2, and the second one was detected this morning. Both were discovered in a passenger’s carry-on bag during checkpoint screening.
The firearm discovered on Tuesday was a Ruger LC9, loaded with 13 rounds. This morning, a 9 mm Walter PPK/5, loaded with 7 rounds, was found in another passenger’s bag at the security screening checkpoint. In both cases, TSA notified the Austin Police Department, which interviewed the passengers and took possession of the weapons. Law enforcement makes any determination about possible criminal charges.
This was the 68th firearm found at AUS security checkpoints so far this year. In 2017, TSA found a total of 74 at AUS. Passengers who bring a firearm to the checkpoint can expect a referral to law enforcement and a civil penalty from TSA, which averages almost $4,000 for a loaded weapon.
While firearms are not allowed in carry-on bags, they 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. Some airline policies for traveling with a firearm in a checked bag may differ from TSA’s, so passengers should also contact their airline prior to coming to the airport.
TSA found a record-breaking 3,957 firearms at airport security checkpoints around the country in 2017, a 17 percent increase over 2016.