Follow these TSA rules for traveling with a gun, or it’ll cost you

LINTHICUM, Md. — More travelers are bringing firearms to airport checkpoints than before, and the Transportation Security Administration wants them to stop.

“Last year 3,957 people brought a gun to a checkpoint, nationwide,” said Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokeswoman. “That keeps going up, year after year after year.”

Standing before a table of confiscated weapons, in a concourse at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, Farbstein said the TSA allows people to travel with a gun.

But “there’s a right way to do it, and a wrong way to do it,” she said.

A gun must be unloaded and packed in a hard-sided, lockable case. Any ammunition — in a magazine or a box — needs to be next to the gun, inside the case. The case must be locked.

“You take that firearm to a check-in counter,” said Farbstein. “Never bring it to a checkpoint.”

People who bring weapons to a checkpoint are subject to federal civil penalties, as well as criminal charges. A typical fine for carrying a handgun to a checkpoint is $3,900, she said.

After you fill out a brief declaration that you are traveling with a firearm, the hard-sided case can be packed in a larger suitcase. Passengers can check a long gun in a longer, hard-sided case as an individual piece of luggage.

“It then goes in the belly of the plane. It travels just like a checked bag. The idea is, nobody should have access to it on the plane.”

Why do passengers try to go through checkpoints with guns? Farbstein said the two most common excuses are: “I forgot” and “my husband or wife packed my bag.”

“Neither of those excuses fly,” Farbstein warned.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2018 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up