Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers working at Tampa Bay Area airports have detected an abnormally high number firearms in passenger carry-on bags in October, 15 in total as of October 28.
During this period, Tampa International Airport officers detected 12 guns, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport officers found two and St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport had one.
The average number of firearms brought to TSA security checkpoints in the area nearly doubled this month, using comparative data from 2018 and 2019 (year to date).
The number of guns brought to TSA continues to be an issue across the state of Florida, with more than 418 detected through October 28. A total of 529 were found statewide in 2018.
While firearms may be transported in checked baggage (provided they are declared to the airline, in a proper carrying case and unloaded), they are prohibited in carry-on bags.
TSA would like to remind passengers that it is important for them to thoroughly search their bags for any potentially dangerous weapons or prohibited items before departing for the airport.
Security is the first concern of the TSA, and having these items in bags that are traveling with you on the aircraft is dangerous to other travelers and can be easily mistaken as an intentional attempt to bring a prohibited item onto an aircraft.
“Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the checkpoint,” said Mark Howell, TSA Regional Spokesperson. “Our advice is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.”
In addition to potential criminal charges, passengers who bring firearms to a checkpoint face civil penalties from TSA.