Reminder: Check Bags for Banned Items (Especially Guns) Before Flying

According to the TSA, the most common explanation for a gun discovered in a traveler’s bag at security is, “I forgot it was there.” But that may not prevent the gun’s owner from being arrested.

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Flight Attendant Caught with Gun

It didn’t in the case of a Republic Airlines flight attendant who said she too forgot she was packing heat when she went through security at Philadelphia International on Sunday morning. The gun was loaded, and when the TSA called over a Philly police officer to take a look, the cop accidentally fired the weapon but fortunately, no one was injured. The flight attendant, who had a legal permit to carry the gun, was arrested and replaced by a colleague on her flight to Denver. The problem was, she did not follow federal regulations regarding traveling with firearms (see below).

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TSA’s Big Haul: 38 Loaded Guns

It’s been a big week for the TSA in terms of guns discovered in luggage – for the weeklong period ending Sept. 20, a total 47 guns were confiscated at U.S. airports and 38 of them were loaded. Airports in Houston and Dallas led the statistics with five incidents (all guns were loaded) followed by Las Vegas where four guns were confiscated (all but one was loaded). None were discovered at airports in New York, Chicago or the Los Angeles area.

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How to Fly with Guns Legally

As the TSA notes on its blog, passengers can travel legally with firearms, but there are rules that must be followed.

  • Firearms must be declared to the airline at the airport ticket counter (so arrive early)
  • All firearms must be unloaded
  • All firearms must be in a locked, hard-sided case
  • All firearms must be transported in checked-baggage (no carry-ons)

Also, airlines may have additional, specific regulations so be sure to check your carrier’s website, particular as it pertains to international travel. Some countries do not allow travelers to transport any guns at all. And don’t forget the trip to the airport – be sure you are in compliance with local laws regarding firearms.

How to Breeze through Security

Finally, check your carry-on before you head to the airport. If you forget about any banned substance in your bag, you could be delayed – or even face arrest.


Published: September 24, 2012