ALCOA, Tenn. (WATE) — A loaded firearm was found at the McGhee Tyson Airport Wednesday after Transportation Security Administration agents checked a passenger’s carry-on bag, according to TSA officials.
The firearm, a Ruger .380 caliber handgun, was discovered at 9:30 a.m. at the TSA checkpoint. When the firearm was discovered, TSA alerted the airport police, who took possession of the bag and escorted the passenger out of the checkpoint area.
“This is the 16th firearm detected by TSA officers at the TYS security checkpoint in 2022 and 21 were detected there last year,” according to TSA officials.
Firearms are allowed to be transported in checked baggage if they are declared to the airline, placed in a proper carrying case and unloaded. However, they’re prohibited in carry-on bags.
“Passengers must remember they’re responsible for the contents of bags and our advice is they thoroughly inspect all personal belongings to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items before coming to the airport,” Steve Wood, TSA federal security director for Tennessee, said.
Passengers who bring firearms to a checkpoint can be fined, face a criminal referral, or both.
“Security is the first concern of the TSA, and having these items in bags that are traveling with you on the aircraft is dangerous to other travelers and can be easily mistaken as an intentional attempt to bring a prohibited item onto an aircraft,” the TSA official added.