Traveling with a firearm? TSA has rules

WASHINGTON — Police officers aren’t the only ones carrying weapons into airports. Last Wednesday, 17 firearms and one replica were nearly brought onto U.S. planes illegally by passengers stopped at security checkpoints.

That sets a new one-day record for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

“People are allowed to travel with their firearms,” says TSA Spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein. But “there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it,” she says.

Unloaded firearms, gun parts and ammunition must be secured in hard sided cases with an external key lock or pad lock and put into checked luggage.

“They’ll give you some forms to fill out. Police will make sure you’ve packaged your gun properly and it goes into the belly of the plane,” says Farbstein.

Since the beginning of the year, local airports have had 21 weapons confiscated by the TSA at security checkpoints as passengers tried to board planes.

  • 04 – Washington Dulles International Airport
  • 07 – Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
  • 10 – Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

Those numbers grow nearly daily and have been rising steadily year to year. Last year 1,813 firearms were detected at TSA checkpoints compared to 976 in 2009.

Most people caught with a gun at checkpoints tell security they forget it was with them.

“If you own a firearm, you need to know where it is at all times,” says Farbstein. She says people should know it’s illegal to carry guns into the passenger compartment of airplanes.

“It’s more than a dozen years after 9/11 and people should know that. But apparently they don’t. So that’s why we’re trying to remind them.”

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