TSA screeners find two guns at Boise Airport

Posted at 11:16 AM, Mar 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-13 13:16:38-04

Transportation Security Administration officers at the Boise Airport discovered two guns at the security checkpoint within about a five-hour period Sunday, during routine screening of carry-on baggage. This comes on the heels of two other firearm discoveries in the past week at Idaho airports.

“The first firearm was found at approximately 10 a.m. It was an unloaded .22 caliber North American Arms Magnum in the carry-on bag of a male passenger ticketed for travel to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport,” said TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers.

“The second firearm -– a Ruger .380 semi-automatic pistol -- was detected at approximately 3 p.m. in the carry-on of a female passenger headed to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. It was loaded with six rounds of ammunition,” she added.

Also over the weekend, TSA officers at Idaho Falls Regional Airport discovered a loaded Ruger 9mm pistol in the carry-on bag of a male passenger traveling to Salt Lake City International Airport Saturday morning.

In a separate incident last Wednesday morning, TSA officers at Boise discovered a loaded Smith and Wesson Bodyguard 380. The passenger was ticketed for travel to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California.

“There are legal and acceptable ways to take a firearm on a plane in checked luggage. However, we are too often seeing people with guns in carry-on luggage. This poses a significant safety hazard to passengers, airline employees and others,” said Andy Coose, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Idaho. “It can also result in stiff financial penalties, fines or even prosecution. So please be careful and check all your (baggage) before you head to the airport to make sure there are no guns on your person or in your accessible property.”

When a TSA officer sees the image of a firearm on the x-ray screen, TSA immediately notifies a law enforcement officer who is assigned to the airport. Law enforcement responds to the checkpoint and questions the passenger.

In all the Idaho cases, Dankers said, the passengers were questioned by police and were subsequently allowed to continue on to their destinations.

No citations were issued in the Idaho Falls cases.

In the Boise cases, the Ada Prosecutor’s Office will now decide if the travelers will be cited or charged, Dankers said.

All the weapons were confiscated, she stated. Local police will then decide how to dispose of the weapons.

The three firearms caught at the Boise Airport in the past week bring the 2017 total to eight. In all of 2016, TSA at Boise found sixteen guns. This is the first firearm of 2017 at Idaho Falls. In 2016, TSA discovered two guns there last year.

“Nationwide in 2017 in the first 70 days of the year, TSA officers have found more than 685 firearms in carry-on bags at the security checkpoint. In all of 2016, TSA discovered 3,391 in carry-on luggage,” Dankers pointed out.

Firearms, ammunition, firearm parts and realistic replicas of firearms are always prohibited in carry-on baggage. However, these items can be transported in checked baggage provided the traveler declares them to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process, she explained.

Firearms in checked baggage must be unloaded and stored in a locked, hard-sided container. TSA urges passengers to contact their airline for specific firearm and ammunition policies and to check local laws related to the carrying and transport of firearms, Dankers added.

In addition to facing local or state criminal charges, TSA reserves the right to levy a civil penalty of up to $7,500 for bringing a dangerous weapon through the checkpoint. Each penalty is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.