TSA intercepts 40 guns at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport so far this year

(Source: Kenneth Smith/WBRC)
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 10:51 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - TSA officers have intercepted 61 guns from getting through Alabama airport checkpoints so far this year. 40 of those guns were found at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.

TSA says passengers bringing guns to checkpoints instead of checking them in a bag is a dangerous trend. With holiday travel right around the corner, even more guns are expected to be brought to the airport in the next few months.

Sari Koshetz, spokesperson with TSA, says most people claim they forgot the gun was in their carry-on bag, but it’s no excuse because even a forgotten gun could go off without warning. She says anyone who brings a firearm to a TSA checkpoint could face arrest and a fine reaching over $13,000.

If you want to bring a gun with you to travel, Koshetz says you need to check the laws in the state you’re traveling to beforehand.

“While you might be able to legally check that bag in Alabama, you may not be legally able to have that gun in another state,” explained Koshetz. “So first, check the laws on both sides of your trip and then know that when you get to the airport, that gun must be unloaded and packed in a hard-sided case and there must be locks on that case.”

She adds that you also need to declare the gun to the airline when you’re checking in to your flight. Koshetz says you must visit a real person, not the kiosk.

TSA provides the following 5 tips for traveling efficiently:

Tip 1: No guns in carry-ons. Firearms must be in checked baggage. All firearms must be properly packed and declared to the airline at check-in, which means unloaded and in a locked, hard-sided case. Locked means at least two locks and with rifles that could mean additional locks, depending on the length of the case. The ammunition must be in its original box or in a special container meant for safe transport. Contact your airline ahead of travel for additional guidance. And it is your responsibility to know what the gun laws are on both sides of your trip because guns may not be legal to transport even in checked baggage in some jurisdictions.

Tip 2: Leave all prohibited items at home. To reduce the likelihood of bringing prohibited items into the checkpoint, search your own bag before leaving home. Unsure if an item is allowed: use the “What Can I Bring?” page on TSA.gov.

Tip 3: Prepare for the security checkpoint. Have a valid ID card readily available. Follow the liquids, gels and aerosols rule of 3.4 ounces or less, with the exception of hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12-ounce limit in carry-on baggage. Empty your pockets into your carry-on rather than into a bin.

Tip 4: Help is available. Get live assistance by tweeting your questions to @AskTSA in English or Spanish or via Facebook Messenger. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.

Tip 5: Enroll now in TSA PreCheck. Travel with ease by enrolling in TSA PreCheck and avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, laptops and light jackets. Most new enrollees receive a known traveler number within five days, and membership lasts for five years.

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