TSA finds gun in Boise Airport traveler’s luggage

Posted at 12:13 PM, Mar 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-27 14:13:26-04

BOISE — Transportation Security Administration officers at the Boise Airport found a loaded gun in the carry-on luggage of a female traveler ticketed for travel to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Wednesday morning.

“This is the first firearm discovered in a carry-on bag by TSA at any airport in Idaho so far this year,” said TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers.

The firearm, a 9 mm Smith & Wesson M&P shield pistol, was loaded with seven rounds of ammunition.

A TSA officer spotted the image of the gun on the X-ray screen at 5:40 a.m., during the routine screening of carry-on luggage.

TSA notified the Boise Police Department. BPD officers interviewed the traveler and confiscated the weapon.

The incident has been referred to the Ada County
prosecutor’s office for review.

The traveler missed her flight, Dankers said.

She added TSA will review the circumstances of the incident to determine if the agency can levy a civil penalty against the
passenger. The recommended civil penalty for a firearm starts at $2,000 and can go up to the statutory maximum
of $13,333 per violation.

Factors TSA considers when determining the civil penalty amount include whether the firearm was loaded and whether there was accessible ammunition. TSA evaluates each incident on a case-by-case basis.

Nationwide, the number of firearms discoveries in
travelers’ carry-on luggage has increased year over year.

In 2016, TSA discovered 3,391 firearms; in 2017, 3,952; in 2018, 4,239; and, so far this year, through March 27, 943.

In Idaho, 22 guns were found in 2016; 36 on 2017; and 27 in 2018.

The TSA reminds travelers that 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. Ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are also prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be checked.

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.

Firearm magazines and ammunition clips -- whether loaded or empty -– must be securely boxed in a hard-sided case containing the unloaded firearm. Small arms ammunition that does not exceed .75 caliber for a rifle or pistol and shotgun shells of any gauge, may be transported in the same case as the firearm. TSA recommends travelers check with their airline prior to their flight to ensure they comply with any airline-specific requirements.

(photo courtesy: TSA)