SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 9, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Officers with the Transportation Security Administration at Salt Lake City International Airport have discovered seven firearms in the carry-on luggage of seven different travelers in the past seven days.
“The latest firearm discovery occurred Wednesday around 7:40 a.m. when a TSA officer spotted the image of a gun on the X-ray screen in the bag of a male passenger ticketed for travel to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport,” said a news release from TSA. “The gun was a loaded 9 mm Smith & Wesson pistol with an additional magazine and 15 rounds of ammunition.”
Other firearm discoveries in the past week included one on Thursday, Oct. 3, at about 7:15 p.m. when a male passenger headed to Oakland International Airport had a loaded 9 mm Smith & Wesson M&P Shield gun in his carry-on bag and eight rounds of ammunition.
The next was on Friday, Oct. 4, at 2:30 p.m., when a loaded .380 caliber Kel-Tec firearm and five rounds of ammunition were discovered in the bag of a male passenger traveling to San Diego International Airport.
“Over the weekend, on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 5:15 a.m., SLC TSA officers discovered a loaded 9 mm FN Herstal FNS-9 gun and 17 rounds of ammunition in a carry-on bag of a male traveler going to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport,” the news release said.
“A day later, on Sunday, Oct. 6, a female traveler ticketed for travel to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport had a loaded .22 caliber North American Arms firearm and five rounds of ammunition in her carry-on luggage.”
On Monday, Oct. 7 at about 7:50 a.m., TSA officers discovered a loaded .380 caliber Ruger LCP firearm and six rounds of ammunition in a female traveler’s carry-on bag on her way to San Diego International Airport. On Tuesday, Oct. 8, TSA officers discovered an unloaded .22 caliber Ruger Sturm firearm at around 7:55 a.m. in carry-on luggage of a male passenger ticketed for travel to John F. Kennedy International Airport. In addition to the firearm, there were 97 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition in the bag.
In every instance, these firearms were discovered by TSA officers during the routine screening of carry-on property at the TSA security checkpoint, the news release said. Once the image of the firearm appeared on the X-ray screen, TSA notified the Salt Lake City Police Airport Bureau and they responded to the security checkpoint, taking custody of the firearm and interviewing the travelers. There is no indication that these seven incidents are related or pose a threat to the traveling public’s safety.
“This string of firearm discoveries should serve as a reminder to all travelers – especially gun owners — to double-check their belongings before they come to the airport to catch a flight to ensure there is nothing dangerous or prohibited in their carry-on luggage,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Utah Mark Lewis.
“There is no excuse for bringing a firearm to the security checkpoint when there is an established and accepted procedure for packing a firearm for travel in checked luggage.”
TSA will review the circumstances of each incident and levy a civil penalty against the passengers. The recommended civil penalty for a firearm starts at $2,050 and can go up to a maximum of $10,250 per violation.
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, the news release said. 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 needs to 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.
Additional traveler information specifically related to the commercial air transport of firearms and ammunition can be found here.
These seven firearms bring the total number of firearms discovered by TSA at SLC in 2019 to 65. In all of 2018, TSA officers at SLC discovered 73 firearms in carry-on luggage. Nationwide, TSA officers have discovered more than 3,300 firearms in carry-on luggage so far this year.