WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — For the second time in the last two weeks, security officials at T.F. Green confiscated a gun at the airport’s checkpoint.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, officers detected the .22 caliber weapon Sunday while a Florida man’s bag went through the checkpoint x-ray machine.
“This is, of course, something that should never happen. People should never bring a firearm to a checkpoint. There is a right and wrong way to do it. This person did it the wrong way and was stopped,” said TSA Public Affairs spokesperson Lisa Farbstein.
The TSA said the man – who is now facing weapons charges – told officers he had no idea how the handgun came to be in his possession.
“They detained him for questioning and he was eventually arrested. Interestingly enough, he told officials he didn’t own a gun and had no idea how the weapon came to be in his bag,” added Farbstein.
Nationwide last year, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day. The TSA said that’s a 7% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017. Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34% had a bullet in the chamber, the TSA said.
The TSA said even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes, they have a procedure for transporting guns and ammunition on airplanes as checked baggage only.
“There is a right way to travel with a gun and a wrong way. The right way is you would have a permit for the gun, be unloaded, it would be in a hard case, you lock that case, take it to the airline check-in counter,” added Farbstein. “You declare you want to fly with it. They will make sure it goes into the belly of the plane, never the cabin. The idea, rightfully so, is that no one has access to a gun during a flight.”
The agency said it has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,000 for weapons violations, with a typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint being $4,100.
This is the third gun this year caught by TSA officers at TF Green Airport.
“If you don’t know if something should go in your checked or carry on bag, you can check our website’s ‘What Can I Bring ?‘ page, the TSA app, or send a tweet or Facebook message to us on social media,” said Farbstein.
“It’s going to be a busy next couple days with people coming back from the holidays,” added Farbstein. “So yes, get to the airports early, but please be safe with what you carry.”