This handgun was detected by TSA officers in a passenger’s carry-on bag at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on October 20. (TSA)

Weekly Update: TSA Firearm Detections

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers stopped a man from carrying a loaded 9mm handgun onto an airplane at Midway International Airport on October 19. At approximately 8 a.m., a TSA officer detected the gun in the local man’s carry-on bag. TSA officials immediately alerted the Chicago Police Department, who responded and removed the passenger and weapon away from the checkpoint. This is the 18th firearm detected at Midway this year. Additionally, TSA officers have found 25 firearms at O’Hare International Airport in 2020.

The following day, TSA officers stopped a man from carrying a loaded 9mm handgun onto an airplane at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. At approximately 10:30 a.m., a TSA officer detected the gun in the local man’s carry-on bag. TSA officials immediately alerted the Cleveland Police Department, who responded and removed the passenger and weapon away from the checkpoint. It was the 11th firearm detected at the airport’s checkpoint so far this year.

On October 22, TSA officers at Norfolk International Airport stopped a gun from getting through the checkpoint. It was the third gun caught at the airport checkpoint so far this month. The .40 caliber handgun that was detected in a man’s carry-on bag. It was not loaded, however a magazine with 21 bullets was also detected among his carry-on items. When the TSA officer detected the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, the Norfolk Airport Authority Police were alerted, responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the weapon and cited the man on a weapons charge. This case was forwarded to the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney for criminal prosecution and the man faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty for carrying a gun to a TSA checkpoint.

The same day, TSA officers discovered a loaded firearm at Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport. At approximately 3 p.m., a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun with a loaded magazine was detected in a passenger’s carry-on bag. TSA immediately alerted airport police, who took possession of the bag and escorted the passenger out of the checkpoint area.

On October 23, a traveler was stopped from boarding her flight with a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets at Pittsburgh International Airport. A TSA officer spotted the handgun on the checkpoint X-ray machine’s monitor. TSA immediately alerted the Allegheny County Police, which responded to the checkpoint, and questioned the woman, a resident of Pittsburgh. The woman is facing stiff Federal civil penalties.

TSA officers stopped a woman from bringing a handgun onto an airplane at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport on October 25. The woman, a resident of Tennessee, was caught with an unloaded .22 caliber handgun and a magazine with seven bullets among her carry-on items. TSA officials alerted the Avoca Borough Police Department, which responded to the checkpoint and confiscated the gun. The woman said that she was carrying the firearm for protection, although she also claimed that she forgot that she had it with her.

And TSA officers caught the 16th gun of the year at a Richmond International Airport security checkpoint on October 25, surpassing the number of firearms detected in 2019 with a little more than two months remaining in the year and with about 60% fewer travelers since the start of the pandemic. The man was caught with an unloaded 9mm handgun and a magazine with 16 bullets among his carry-on items. The airport police were alerted by TSA, responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and loaded magazine and cited the man, issuing two summons for him to appear in court. The man is a resident of Arizona.

Read how to travel with a firearm at TSA

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Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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