BOISE, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers discovered a loaded Ruger 9 mm pistol in the carry-on bag of an Idaho Falls airport passenger Saturday. The passenger was traveling to Salt Lake City International Airport.
It was one of four weapons found at security checkpoints in Idaho over the past week.
TSA uncovered two guns during routine baggage screening at a security checkpoint in the Boise airport within a five-hour period Sunday.
The first firearm was found at around 10 a.m. It was an unloaded North American Arms Magnum in the carry-on bag of a male passenger ticketed for travel to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The second firearm was a Ruger .380 semi-automatic pistol. It was detected in the carry-on luggage of a female passenger headed to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. It was loaded with six rounds of ammunition.
Last Wednesday, TSA officers discovered a loaded Smith and Wesson Bodyguard 380 at the Boise Airport. That passenger was ticketed for travel to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California.
The Ruger was the first firearm discovered by TSA agents in Idaho Falls in 2017. However, it was the eighth weapon discovered at Boise Airport this year. In all of 2016, TSA found 16 guns at Boise.
Nationwide, in the first 70 days of the year, TSA officers found more than 685 firearms in carry-on bags at the security checkpoint. In all of 2016, TSA discovered 3,391 guns in carry-on luggage.
“I want to send out a sincere request to all gun owners in Idaho who are considering traveling by air: Please check your luggage with the airlines and all your belongings before coming to the airport to ensure you do not have a weapon with you!” said Andy Coose, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Idaho. “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 carry-on luggage. This poses a significant safety hazard to passengers, airline employees, and others. It can also result in stiff financial penalties, fines or even prosecution. So please be careful and check all your stuff before you head to the airport to make sure there are no guns on your person or in your accessible property.”
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.
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.
TSA reminds passengers to be aware of the contents of their carry-on bag prior to coming to the security checkpoint. TSA has multiple resources available to passengers to help them determine whether an item is permitted in carry-on baggage, checked baggage or not at all. You can find additional information here.