Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented five handguns from being carried onto airplanes at Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) in separate incidents since Thursday, March 30.
Although, on average, more than a dozen guns are stopped at airport checkpoints across the country each day, it is unusual for DTW to have so many stopped in such a short period of time. Three of the five guns were stopped in less than 90 minutes on Friday morning.
On Thursday, March 30, a passenger asked a Transportation Security Officer before entering a body scanner if he could give her something he forgot, before handing her the firearm. In the other four incidents, three of which occurred Friday, March 31, between 6:20 a.m. and 7:45 a.m., and the fourth on Sunday, April 2, images of the firearms were discovered on the X-ray screen during the routine screening of carry-on luggage. In all incidents, airport police responded, confiscated the firearms, and cited the travelers. All of the firearms were loaded.
“Although it’s extremely troubling that so many passengers continue to make this careless, expensive mistake, the general public should feel safer knowing that the TSA officers in Detroit continue to perform their jobs exceptionally well and are stopping these firearms from going past the checkpoint,” said Michigan TSA Acting Federal Security Director Bill Byrne. “When dangerous items such as loaded guns are brought to a security checkpoint, it represents a serious security and safety concern. Remember that a concealed carry permit or enrollment in the TSA PreCheck® program are not exemptions from this policy.”
Including these five, 28 firearms have been detected at DTW so far this year. Last year, 100 firearms were detected at DTW security checkpoints, and 94 were stopped in 2021.
TSA recently announced that the penalty for bringing weapons to the airport increased and can reach as high as $14,950, depending on the circumstances. TSA determines the penalty amount for a violation based on the circumstances in each case. TSA will continue to revoke TSA PreCheck eligibility for at least five years for passengers caught with a firearm in their possession.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed separately from ammunition in a locked hardback case and declared at the airline check-in counter. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should check for firearm laws in the jurisdictions they are flying to and from.
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.