TSA officers caught this gun at Richmond International Airport on May 10. (TSA)

Weekly Update: TSA Firearm Detections

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Richmond International Airport prevented a Newport News, Virginia, woman with a 9mm handgun loaded with five bullets, one of which was chambered, from carrying it onto her flight on May 10. This occurred just four days after TSA officers stopped another traveler from carrying a loaded .38 revolver onto a flight. On May 10, the gun was detected among the travelers checked belongings. TSA alerted airport police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the teal colored handgun and arrested the woman on weapons charges. In addition to being arrested by the police, she also faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty for bringing a loaded gun to an airport security checkpoint.

The following day, TSA officers prevented a Fulton County, New York, man from carrying two loaded guns and extra ammunition onto his flight at Albany International Airport. TSA officers spotted the two loaded handguns in the man’s backpack as it entered the checkpoint X-ray unit. The police were alerted and interviewed the man, a resident of Johnston, New York. One of the loaded guns was a .45 caliber with nine bullets with one in the chamber. The other was a .380 caliber handgun loaded with seven bullets. In addition, TSA officers detected a gun magazine loaded with six more bullets.

“To say that you forgot that you had two loaded handguns with an extra magazine with additional ammunition is inexcusable,” said Bart R. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Upstate New York. “If you own firearms, you need to know where they are at all times and you need to know the proper way to transport your guns for a flight. This individual had a New York State gun permit for his weapons, but that is not a free pass to bring your guns into the cabin of an airplane. He now faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty for bringing loaded guns to a security checkpoint. The fact that one of the guns had a bullet in the chamber was just an accident waiting to happen. This was a good catch on the part of our TSA officers.”

Also on May 11, TSA officers stopped a woman from carrying a loaded firearm onto an airplane at Boston Logan International Airport. During afternoon security screening a TSA officer detected the loaded .380 caliber firearm along with a magazine containing six rounds in the woman’s carry-on bag. TSA officers immediately alerted the Massachusetts State Police who discovered the pistol had a bullet chambered. A Massachusetts State Trooper then took possession of the firearm and informed the Massachusetts resident she would receive a summons in the mail for bringing a gun to a security checkpoint. This was the first gun detection by TSA officers at a Boston Logan security checkpoint this year. A total of 11 were discovered at security checkpoints in 2020 and 18 in 2019.

And on May 14, TSA officers detected and prevented another handgun from making its way into the passenger cabin of an airplane at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. TSA officers detected the loaded .45 caliber handgun in the carry-on bag of a male passenger. TSA officials immediately alerted the Wayne County Airport Police. The responding officer confiscated the weapon and arrested the Michigan resident. This is the 31st firearm detected at Detroit Metropolitan’s security checkpoints in 2021. TSA officers detected 43 in 2020 and 47 in 2019.

“Our TSA officers continue to do an amazing job preventing firearms from entering the secure area of the airport,” said Detroit’s TSA Federal Security Director Steve Lorincz. “The summer travel season is approaching and passengers are reminded to be mindful of the location of their firearms at all times. When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident.” 

Read about traveling with firearms 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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