Transportation Security Administration officials want you to remember that you cannot take a gun in your carry-on luggage. This after the federal agency is reporting an uptick in guns they are seeing at South Texas airport security checkpoints.
“Please unsure your firearm is unloaded at the time of packaging, and it must be stored in a hard sided container like this," said Transportation Security officer Melissa Verastegui as she closes the hard sided container for demonstration.
The Texas Security Administration teams at San Antonio and South Texas airports detected a combined 86 guns at the security checkpoints in 2021. TSA said 2021 was a record year for firearm fines at airport security checkpoints.
In 2021, Corpus Christi International Airport had 10 incidents of firearms in luggage, followed by San Antonio International Airport with 65 incidents.
TSA spokeswoman Patricia Mancha said that on October 3, 2021, they found the most firearms in a year in one traveler's carry-on luggage.
“In the first quarter of 2022, airports across San Antonio and South Texas have found 36 guns in passengers luggage," she said. "That's 36 too many."
Two of those incidents were in Corpus Christi.
The most common excuse, TSA said they hear, is that the traveler forgot.
“People understand that everyone is responsible for the items they bring to the airport," said Mancha.
Verastegui said firearms can be taken in checked bags, and that ammunition must be stored in proper packaging, or inside of an ammunition can. You can declare the firearm and/or ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter.
And how much is the fine if you “forget” you have your firearm with you from TSA?
“You can get an administrative fine from TSA of up to $14,000 almost," said Mancha.
Along with a hefty fine, TSA officials said you will lose your TSA pre-check privileges for an allotted period of time, and you could miss your flight.
But that’s not it.
Once a gun is found, TSA officers contact the local police, and then they will handle the case.
“The airport side, or the state side — so to speak — it can be a felony," said CCIA Chief of Public Safety John Hyland.
Mancha said the goal of TSA is the safety and security of travelers, airports and airlines,
“The key to remember is that when it comes to prohibited items, it's any article that can harm or cause injury to a person," said Mancha.
If carrying a gun in checked luggage, the container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. Any locked cases that can be easily opened are not permitted.
Be aware that the container the firearm was in when purchased may not adequately secure the firearm when it is transported in checked baggage.
Contact TSA Contact Center for any clarification.