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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Loaded Foldable Firearm Detected in Carry-On Baggage at Salt Lake City International Airport

Two firearms have also recently been stopped at Norfolk International Airport after TSA officers prevented a Kentucky man from bringing his loaded handgun onto his flight on March 1, just two days after they stopped a Nevada woman from carrying her gun onto a flight on Feb. 27.

Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Salt Lake City International Airport detected a loaded gun and three rounds of ammunition in the carry-on luggage of a male passenger ticketed for travel to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. This discovery occurred around 3 p.m. on March 1 during the routine X-ray screening of carry-on luggage at the security checkpoint.

The firearm was a foldable, single-shot .22 caliber Trailblazaer LifeCard pistol. Upon seeing the image of the gun on the X-ray screen, TSA notified officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department’s airport bureau, who responded to the security checkpoint. Law enforcement interviewed the traveler who was allowed to continue to his flight without the firearm. The incident is under review for potential prosecution.

This was the 11th firearm discovered by TSA in carry-on luggage to date at Salt Lake City International in 2023. At this same point in 2022, TSA officers had discovered 15 firearms at the security checkpoint. Perhaps some hope here at least that the tougher penalties are having an effect.

Two firearms have recently been stopped at Norfolk International Airport after TSA officers prevented a Kentucky man from bringing his loaded handgun onto his flight on March 1, just two days after they stopped a Nevada woman from carrying her gun onto a flight on Feb. 27. The Kentucky man’s .380 caliber gun was loaded with six bullets, including one in the chamber. The gun was caught as the man entered the security checkpoint. The X-ray unit alerted on the carry-on bag, which required a closer inspection. The firearm was removed by the local police, who cited the man on state charges. The man also faces a stiff financial civil penalty for bringing a gun to a TSA security checkpoint, as does the woman who brought a gun to the checkpoint on Feb. 27.

On March 2, TSA officers at Erie International Airport Tom Ridge Field prevented a woman from bringing her loaded handgun onto her flight. The woman’s .22 caliber handgun was loaded with five bullets. The gun was caught as the woman entered the security checkpoint. The X-ray unit alerted on the carry-on bag, which required a closer inspection. The firearm was removed by the local police. The woman now faces a stiff financial civil penalty for bringing a gun to a TSA security checkpoint.

TSA reviews the circumstances of every firearm incident and can levy a civil penalty against the passenger. The recommended civil penalty for a firearm starts at $2,050 and can go up to the statutory maximum of $14,950 per violation.

In addition to civil penalties, individuals who violate rules regarding traveling with firearms will have Trusted Traveler status and TSA PreCheck® expedited screening benefits revoked for five years. The duration of the disqualification will depend upon the seriousness of the offense, and if there is a repeated history of violations.

Firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage. Ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are also prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be checked. Any type of replica firearm is prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.

At the airport during the check-in process, a passenger should go to the airline ticket counter to declare the firearm, ammunition and any firearm parts. Prior to traveling, passengers are encouraged to check gun laws and regulations at their destination to ensure they are in compliance with local and state laws. TSA also recommends travelers check with their airline prior to their flight to ensure they comply with any airline-specific requirements.

author avatar
Kylie Bielby
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.
Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby
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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