BOSTON – A little less than three weeks into the new year, Transportation Security Administration officers at Boston Logan International Airport caught their first gun of 2020 at one of the airport checkpoints.
The TSA officers stopped the Alabama woman from bringing a .22 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets onto an airplane on Sunday, Jan. 19. They spotted it as the woman’s belongings entered the X-ray machine and contacted the Massachusetts State Police, who confiscated the handgun and detained the woman for questioning prior to arresting her on weapons charges.
Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes in their carry-on bags. Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
Nationwide last year, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 12.1 firearms per day, approximately a 5% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 4,239 detected in 2018. Eighty-seven percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. If an individual is a TSA Pre✓® member, then that person could even lose TSA Pre✓® status. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
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.