BOSTON – Transportation Security Administration officers caught a Merrimack County, New Hampshire, man trying to bring a loaded semi-automatic handgun onto an airplane early this morning, December 30, at Boston Logan International Airport.
It was the second handgun caught at one of the airport checkpoints within the last five days and marked the 18th gun caught in a carry-on bag at the airport so far this year. Last year TSA officers caught 21 guns at the airport checkpoints.
TSA officers spotted the .45 caliber handgun loaded with a bullet in the chamber in addition to an extra magazine with more bullets. In total there were 14 bullets with the gun. TSA officers saw the gun when the man’s belongings entered the X-ray machine. They contacted the Massachusetts State Police, who took possession of the handgun and detained the man, a resident of Hookset, New Hampshire, for questioning.
Firearms caught in 2017
Firearms caught in 2019
(As of 12-30-19)
Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes in their carry-on bags. Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
Nationwide last year, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day, approximately a 7% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017. Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34% had a bullet in the chamber.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. If an individual is a TSA Pre✓® member, then that person could even lose TSA Pre✓® status. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.