On Monday, March 6, Transportation Security Administration officers at Westchester County Airport in White Plains stopped a Florida man from bringing a loaded 9mm handgun onto his flight, according to TSA Northeast spokesperson Lisa Farbstein.
The gun, which was loaded with seven bullets including one in the chamber, was caught after the man entered the security checkpoint and an X-ray unit alerted officers to his carry-on bag. Inside, the firearm was discovered, which was later removed by local police.
Although the traveler then claimed that he had forgotten the gun was in his bag, he still faces a steep financial civil penalty as high as $15,000 for bringing the weapon to a TSA security checkpoint.
Westchester County Airport's Federal Security Director Robert Duffy said that this was the second handgun officers prevented from getting on a flight at the airport since the beginning of the year.
"Guns are not permitted through any airport security checkpoint," Duffy said, adding, "Hopefully this will be a strong reminder to others not to bring their guns to our checkpoints. This individual now faces a stiff federal financial penalty that could cost him thousands of dollars."
Firearms are only allowed on flights if they are unloaded, packed in a hard-sided locked case, and placed in checked baggage. They must also be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared while still locked in their case, according to Farbstein.
Despite these restrictions, people still commonly attempt to bring firearms in their carry-on bags, as 6,542 firearms were caught at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide in 2022, and 88 percent of those weapons were loaded, federal officials said.
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