TSA: Rise In Loaded Guns Found In Carry-on Bags

Aug 11, 2014

For the third time this year, officials at the Dayton International Airport confiscated a loaded handgun from a passenger’s carry-on bag.  Now, TSA officials are reminding flyers about the rules of traveling with firearms.

Officials say what happened at the Dayton Airport this weekend is similar to two other incidents this year.  A loaded gun was found in the carryon bag of a traveler ready to board a flight.  The gun and its owner were then pulled away from other travelers and questioned by the TSA and local police. 

 The .380 caliber Ruger TSA officials confiscated Sunday at James M. Cox International Airport in Dayton. The Weapon was found with 7 rounds - 6 in the magazine and 1 chambered.
The .380 caliber Ruger TSA officials confiscated Sunday at James M. Cox International Airport in Dayton. The Weapon was found with 7 rounds - 6 in the magazine and 1 chambered.
Credit TSA

In all three instances, the owner says they "didn’t know," or "forgot the gun was in the bag." Loaded guns in carry-on bags are not covered by conceal and carry laws, and Mark Powell with the TSA says in those cases, the gun holder could escape criminal charges but the mistake will most likely be a costly one. 

“TSA does have the ability to assess a civil penalty of up to $11,000.00 to passengers who do bring a firearm past the checkpoint,” he said.

The gun discovered early Sunday morning was a loaded .380 caliber Ruger. Powell says that weapon, and others, should have been unloaded, registered with the airline, and properly stored in a checked bag.

“We definitely don’t want to infringe on anyone’s right to take a firearm with them when they travel," said the TSA Regional Spokesperson. "We just don’t want it in the cabin of the aircraft.”

Only one firearm was found at the TSA checkpoint in Dayton in 2013. The higher number this year reflects, a rise in numbers nationally, where, from January through June, TSA agents recovered more than a thousand firearms from passenger carry-on bags.