MANCHESTER, N.H. – A Manchester, New Hampshire, woman was caught with a loaded handgun at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport security checkpoint Monday after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers detected a 9 mm handgun loaded with eight bullets in her carry-on bag.
TSA contacted the Londonderry Police Department, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm and detained the woman for questioning before allowing her to give the firearm to a non-traveling companion for safekeeping until she returned to town. The woman said that she forgot that she had a loaded gun in her bag.
When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. Guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.
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.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes in their carry-on bags. If an individual is a TSA Pre✓® member, 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.