A 52-year-old man attempted to bring a loaded assault rifle and 163 rounds of ammunition through security at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport on Tuesday. Earlier that day, Transportation Security Administration said a Glock was detected at security as well.
TSA has intercepted 14 firearms at security checkpoints this year in Texas alone. Thirteen of them were loaded.
We’re barely two months into 2023 and there has been a rise in incidents of travelers trying to bring firearms through TSA checkpoints nationwide.
As of Feb. 9, TSA officers have prevented 654 firearms at security checkpoints across the nation – 92% of which were loaded – according to the agency’s spokesperson Robert Langston. That is an average of 16 guns a day.
“TSA is still seeing far too many firearms at airport checkpoints,” Langston said. “Firearms do not belong in the secure area of airports or in the passenger cabins of airplanes. They represent an unnecessary risk at the TSA checkpoint and failing to properly check and declare a firearm can be an expensive mistake.”
As a reminder, someone can face a penalty of almost $15,000 for a gun in their carry-on.
Incidents pile up
At Westchester County Airport in New York, a man was arrested Monday on weapon charges for trying to bring a loaded handgun through the security checkpoint, according to TSA. The .45 caliber gun was loaded with seven bullets and detected among the Connecticut man’s carry-on items by the X-ray unit.
“Guns are not permitted in the cabin of a plane – neither loaded or unloaded ones. Now not only was this man arrested, but he also faces a stiff financial civil penalty from TSA that could set him back thousands of dollars,” TSA’s Federal Security Detector for the airport Robert Duffy said in a statement.
Also on Monday at Appleton International Airport in Wisconsin, a TSA agent detected a loaded handgun in someone’s carry-on luggage.
$15,000 for a firearm:Packing a gun in carry-on will cost you nearly $15K. But TSA’s fines won’t change things.
Carrying this on?:The 10 weirdest things agents found at airport security in 2022, according to TSA
What happens when TSA detects a weapon?
TSA can issue a federal civil penalty to passengers with guns or gun parts, like magazines or clips, at checkpoints, and it can cost them up to $14,950 in fines (and they’ll lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.) Previously, the maximum fine was $13,910.
Last year, 6,542 firearms were stopped at 262 out of the 430 security checkpoints across the country. Of these, 88% were loaded.
Can you travel with firearms?
Following strict regulations, yes, some people are permitted to travel with firearms.
“If you are going to travel with your gun it must be in your checked bag, but be sure you know exactly what the gun laws are on each side of your trip,” Hudson said. “Guns may not be legal to transport even in checked baggage in some jurisdictions.”
Firearms must be unloaded and packed in a hard-sided locked case in checked baggage. The passenger also needs to declare the firearm at the airline check-in counter. A concealed carry gun permit also does not mean you can bring a firearm onto a plane. More details from TSA can be found online. Airlines may also have their own requirements for traveling with firearms.
Kathleen Wong is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Hawaii. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Story Credit: usatoday.com