TSA officers caught this gun at Atlantic City International Airport on March 13. (TSA)

Weekly Update: TSA Firearm Detections

A Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, man was stopped by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport checkpoint on Wednesday, March 10, when they detected a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets in his carry-on bag. It was the second gun caught by TSA officers at the airport’s checkpoint so far this year. TSA officials notified the Latrobe Park Police, who responded to the checkpoint and questioned the man, a resident of Jeanette, Pennsylvania. He now faces a stiff federal financial penalty for bringing a gun to a security checkpoint.

The following day recorded several firearm catches across TSA checkpoints. TSA officers at Richmond International Airport caught a King William County, Virginia, man with a .22 caliber handgun loaded with 11 bullets among his carry-on items at the security checkpoint. TSA alerted airport police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the handgun and cited the man on a weapons charge. The man told officials that he forgot that he had his loaded gun with him.

The same day, TSA officers caught a Delaware resident with a 9mm handgun loaded with 20 bullets among the man’s carry-on items at a Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport security checkpoint. A TSA officer spotted the handgun on the checkpoint X-ray machine’s monitor as the man’s carry-on items were being screened. TSA immediately alerted Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the weapon and questioned the man, who was then cited on a local charge. The man told officials that he went to a shooting range the previous day and that he forgot to remove his gun from the bag that he took to the airport. The man now faces stiff federal civil penalties for bringing a loaded gun to an airport security checkpoint that could cost him thousands of dollars.

Also on March 11, TSA officers at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport caught a man with a 9mm handgun loaded with 12 bullets at the checkpoint. A TSA officer spotted the handgun in the man’s carry-on bag while it was inside the checkpoint X-ray machine. TSA immediately alerted the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm and detained the man, a resident of Henrico County, Virginia, for questioning before arresting him on weapons charges. He said that he forgot that he had his loaded gun with him. He now faces a stiff federal financial penalty.

TSA officers at the same airport then prevented two individuals from carrying loaded guns onto their flights the following day. Neither of these incidents, nor the one on March 11, were related. On March 12, TSA officers again spotted the handguns in the travelers’ carry-on bags while inside the checkpoint X-ray machine. TSA immediately alerted the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the firearms and detained the individuals for questioning before arresting them on weapons charges.  In the first instance that day, a Fallston, Maryland, man was stopped with a 9 mm handgun loaded with seven bullets, including one in the chamber. Later, a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, woman was caught with a .40 caliber handgun loaded with 15 bullets. In addition to their arrest, each individual faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty.

On Saturday, March 13, a Cumberland County, New Jersey, man was stopped by TSA officers at the Atlantic City International Airport checkpoint, when they detected a 9mm handgun loaded with 17 hollow point bullets in his carry-on bag. TSA officials notified the New Jersey State Police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and arrested the man, a resident of Bridgeton, New Jersey. The gun had previously been reported as stolen. In addition to his arrest, the man now faces a stiff federal financial penalty for bringing a gun to a security checkpoint.

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.

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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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