Last week, Transport Security Administration (TSA) officers at Boise airport in Idaho found a loaded Ruger 9 mm pistol in the carry on bag of a passenger. The passenger was a local citizen, and was traveling to Salt Lake City International Airport.
Four loaded weapons have been found in carry on bags, in similar circumstances, over the past week in Idaho. It seems that many people are forgetting the most basic rules of taking a firearms onto a plane, and the TSA have used the opportunity to re-iterated their advice to travelers across the US.
The guns were found during routine baggage screening, which is designed to find weapons and other items which are not permitted to be carried into the passenger cabin of an aircraft.
The firearms found were varied. In addition to the Ruger 9 mm pistol already mentioned, TSA officials also found a North American Arms Magnum, a Ruger .380 semi automatic pistol, and a Smith and Wesson Bodyguard 380 in its holster, loaded. Some of these weapons were loaded, and some were not, and all were being carried on internal flights.
Whilst the Ruger was the first firearm to be discovered in carry on luggage by the TSA in Idaho Falls in 2017, officials discover weapons and rifle scopes such as this on a routine basis, and say that it is time that people were reminded about the restrictions relating to carrying weapons on aircraft.
Nationwide, during the first 70 days of 2017, TSA officers found more than 685 firearms at Boise airport. In 2016, 3391 guns were discovered in carry on luggage. If these numbers are surprising, they should be – it seems that many people are unaware of the correct way to carry a firearm during air travel.
For many people, of course, getting a flight is quite an unusual occurrence, and as a result many people are not aware of the rules. This, however, is no excuse – if you, a relative, or friend are planning on getting a flight anytime soon, make sure you do your research. Whilst typically TSA officials will merely confiscate your weapon, and allow you to arrange for it to be either checked in or picked up at a later date, even this can be a real hassle. And in the worst cases, there can be fines imposed for falling foul of laws like these.
The TSA recommends a few basic steps to avoid getting into trouble. The first, and most obvious, is to fully check your luggage before you go to the airport. If you are traveling with a bag that you often use on a day to day basis, you may have forgotten to remove your gun from it.
The TSA notes that carrying a gun onto an aircraft poses a significant safety hazard to passengers, airline staff, and others. Firearms, ammunition, firearm parts, and realistic replicas of guns are always prohibited in carry on luggage, but can be transported in checked in luggage provided they are declared.