(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — A local Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer recently found a handgun and ammunition in carry-on at Erie International Airport.
The gun was a .380 caliber and was packed with a magazine loaded with seven bullets.
The discovery was made on Friday, Dec. 9. An X-ray machine detected the gun that was being carried by an Erie resident into the security checkpoint. Airport police confiscated the gun, and the man now faces a federal civil penalty.
“This was a good catch on the part of our officers,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s federal security director for 14 Pennsylvania airports, including Erie. “It is the responsibility of all travelers to know the contents of their baggage and know that they cannot carry a firearm through a security checkpoint.”
Firearms can not be transported as carry-on. They are allowed in checked bags if declared at the airline ticket counter. A concealed-carry permit holder also is not allowed to transport a firearm via carry-on.
Fines for carrying a gun into an airport checkpoint can be as high as $15,000. If the passenger is a TSA PreCheck member, they could lose their membership.
According to an announcement from TSA, more than 5,900 firearms were found in carry-on bags at checkpoints last year. Of those firearms, about 86% were loaded.