Some of the firearms detected recently at Tennessee checkpoints. (TSA)

Weekly Update: TSA Firearm Detections

In the span of a week (September 13-20), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) discovered eight loaded firearms at security checkpoints in Tennessee, including at least one in every major airport in the state.

TSA officers at Nashville International Airport detected a loaded Sig Sauer .380 caliber firearm on September 14, and another on September 17. A loaded North American Arms Derringer .22 calber gun was also detected on September 17, and the following day officers caught a loaded Ruger 9mm at the checkpoint.

TSA officers at Tri-Cities Airport detected a loaded Ruger 9mm on September 17. Meanwhile, a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm was found at Memphis International Airport and a loaded Glock .380 caliber was found at Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, both on September 18. TSA officers at McGhee Tyson Airport detected a loaded Smith & Wesson .40 caliber on September 20.

TSA officers have detected 106 firearms at Tennessee airports year to date in 2020. A total of 139 were detected across the state last year.

Elsewhere, a TSA officer at Erie International Airport detected a .380 caliber handgun in a carry-on bag of an Erie County, Pennsylvania, on September 17. It was not loaded. The handgun was spotted by the officer in the checkpoint X-ray machine. TSA alerted the airport police, who arrived at the checkpoint and confiscated the gun before arresting the man, a resident of Girard, Pennsylvania, on weapons charges.

A woman was stopped from carrying a .38 caliber handgun and a magazine loaded with six bullets onto an airplane at General Mitchell International Airport on September 15. A TSA officer detected the gun in the local woman’s carry-on bag. TSA officials immediately alerted the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, and a deputy responded to the checkpoint and confiscated the weapon.

And a Florida woman was caught by TSA officers with a .22 caliber handgun loaded with three bullets among her carry-on items on September 14, at Syracuse-Hancock International Airport.  The TSA officer, who spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, contacted the Syracuse Police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and briefly detained the woman for questioning before citing her on weapons charges. The woman said that she was flying home with a companion who had driven her luggage north from Florida and did not realize that her gun was in one of her carry-on bags.

The weekend saw two firearms detected at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in separate, unrelated incidents. TSA Officers detected the loaded 9mm handguns in the carry-on bags of different travelers. In both incidents, TSA officials immediately alerted the Wayne County Airport Police, and officers responded to the checkpoints and confiscated the weapons. These detections mark the 25th and 26th firearms detected at Detroit Metropolitan security checkpoints in 2020. TSA officers detected a total of 47 at the airport last year.

See the TSA’s guidance for traveling with firearms

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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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