Transportation Security Administration officials at the Boise Airport discovered two guns at the security checkpoint Sunday morning, during routine screening of airline passengers’ carry-on baggage.
“The first firearm was found at approximately 7 a.m. It was a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9 mm semiautomatic handgun found in the carry-on bag of a male passenger headed to Portland International Airport. The firearm was loaded with eight rounds of ammunition,” said TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers. “The second firearm -- also a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9 mm semiautomatic handgun -- was detected at approximately 11 a.m. in the carry-on of a male passenger ticketed for travel to Salt Lake City International Airport. It was loaded with seven rounds of ammunition.”
“There is a definite trend -- and it is not a good one. Too many people are bringing loaded firearms into airports and showing up at TSA checkpoints nationwide,” said Andy Coose, TSA Federal Security Director for Idaho. “Gun owners need to be responsible when they fly -- and ensure they do the right thing by either leaving their weapon at home, or packing it in their checked luggage and properly declaring it to the airlines. Otherwise, they may find themselves missing their flight while dealing with police and other security officials.”
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. Any further action against the passenger is up to the discretion of law enforcement.
So far this year, TSA screening officials at the Boise Airport have found fourteen guns, compared to eighteen last year.
Nationwide in 2017, TSA officers have found more than 1,500 firearms at the security checkpoint. In all of 2016, TSA discovered 3,391 at the checkpoint.
The TSA reminds travelers that 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.
“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 said.
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 like a firearm to the checkpoint. Each penalty is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.