Only one day prior to the 17th anniversary of the catastrophic terrorist outbreaks on 9/11, a man brought a loaded gun to the security checkpoint at the Lynchburg Regional Airport. A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official caught the man who attempted to bring it in his carry-on and found that the .40 caliber handgun had been filled with seven bullets.
The weapon was first seen in the x-ray monitor for the checkpoint. TSA called the local police right away who rushed to the scene, confiscated the weapon, and held the man for interrogation. This is already the second incident this year of TSA officers detecting a gun at the Lynchburg Regional Airport.
Penalties for Unlawful Carrying of a Firearm to a Security Checkpoint
TSA reminds the public that people who carry firearms or other weapons to the checkpoint could be assigned federal civil fines of $13,000. The first offense for bringing a gun to a security checkpoint is normally lower, about $3,900. Even those who have concealed gun carry permits are subjected to these fines because concealed carry permits don’t authorize for guns to be brought onto a plane.
Airline passengers can travel with a firearm if they declare the weapon properly and pack it in a hard, secure, and locked case. The weapon has to be unloaded, locked, and packed away separately from the ammunition.
Each state and region has unique regulations for firearm possession. Passengers should become familiar with state laws for each area that they are visiting prior to scheduling their trip. Individual airlines could also have specifications that passengers must follow when flying with ammunition and firearms.
What Is Considered a Firearm?
According to the United States Code, a firearm is any weapon or starter gun that will eject a projectile with an explosive; a frame of a weapon; a silencer or muffler; and a destructive apparatus (Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44). A firearm that is considered loaded is defined as having any amount of ammunition in the cylinder, chamber, or magazine within the pistol.
How to Legally Fly with a Firearm
TSA recommends travelers to always abide by state and local laws if you have a firearm to check and are flying. For international trips, familiarize yourself with the guidelines posted on the website for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The passenger is the only one who should have the lock combination unless requested by a TSA officer.
“Every time you need to handle the firearm, declare it and make it known that it will be checked only. However, be aware that there should not be any reason to have the firearm outside of the checked luggage; it should be packed, declared, and should not be taken out except for a security check,” remarked John Tumelty, gun offenses lawyer in Jersey City.
Firearm bolts, clips, magazines, and firing pins are permitted in checked bags, along with rifle scopes. Replica firearms must also be checked.