Feb 28, 2022 - News

TSA warns of travelers bringing guns to the Austin airport

Image of a gun confiscated at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
TSA officers detected this handgun at one of the security checkpoints at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport earlier this year. Photo courtesy TSA.

Loaded guns are showing up in the security lines at Austin's airport.

Driving the news: Transportation Security Administration officials are sounding the alarm over how often they're finding travelers with handguns carried to security checkpoints at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

  • Of scary note: The majority of those guns are found to be loaded.

What they're saying: "The most common excuse we hear is that someone forgot their gun was in their carry-on luggage," said Gilbert Almaraz, TSA's acting federal security director for the Austin airport. "If you own a firearm, you need to know where it is at all times. It's part of being a responsible gun owner."

By the numbers: The TSA team at Austin-Bergstrom airport detected 110 guns at security checkpoints in 2021 and 16 so far this year.

  • For context: More than 13.5 million passengers flew through Austin last year.

Why it matters: It's super annoying to everyone else in the security line.

  • When you show up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the security line comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident — delaying already-stressed travelers from getting to their gates.
  • Plus: You could face a civil penalty that can stretch into the thousands of dollars, whether or not you have a concealed carry permit.
  • 1 unsurprising, but kinda funny note: A traveler with a gun who is a member of TSA PreCheck will lose PreCheck privileges.

How to fly with a gun: Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter.

  • Firearms must be unloaded, placed in a hard-sided locked case and packed separately from ammunition.

Flashback: We reported last year on ABIA's most commonly flagged weapons at security.

Zoom out: Nationwide, TSA officers detected 5,972 guns at airport security checkpoints last year.

  • 86% of those guns were loaded.
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