A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) this week stopped a passenger with an assault rifle and 163 rounds of ammunition from being carried onto a plane headed to Houston.
“Threat detection is our mission and our dedicated workforce is protecting the traveling public every day,” said TSA Federal Security Director Arden Hudson. “Passengers need to focus on what is inside their carry-ons before entering our checkpoint. The introduction of a loaded weapon poses an unnecessary risk to both the traveling public and our employees.”
TSA officers partnered immediately with a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s deputy assigned to the airport. The deputy took control of the Palmetto PA-15 Multi AR firearm loaded with 30 rounds of .300 caliber ammunition. Five additional magazines were also loaded, bringing the total to 163 rounds in the carry-on.
The traveler was a 52-year-old Jefferson, Louisiana, resident. He now faces a civil penalty from the TSA that could reflect the maximum of nearly $15,000.
A total of 14 firearms have been stopped this year by TSA officers at MSY. Thirteen out of the 14 were loaded. The passengers in New Orleans ranged in age from 24 to 52. Elsewhere in the state, a 64-year-old male was stopped at Shreveport Regional Airport this month and a 66-year-old male was stopped at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (in January. Both of those guns were also loaded.
In 2021 MSY – with 119 guns intercepted – was in the top 10 airports in the country for passengers violating federal law by bringing a firearm to the security checkpoint. While MSY did not make the list in 2022, the number was still disturbingly high at 90 guns.
“If you are going to travel with your gun it must be in your checked bag, but be sure you know exactly what the gun laws are on each side of your trip,” said Hudson, who leads TSA’s operations across the State of Louisiana. “Guns may not be legal to transport even in checked baggage in some jurisdictions.”