TSA Orders Travelers with Guns to Pay $1.4 Million in Civil Penalties

TSA Orders Travelers with Guns to Pay $1.4 Million in Civil Penalties

More than $1.41 million in civil claims were levied against air travelers who broke firearms laws at airports last year.

The Transportation Security Administration levied cicada penalties totaling $1.45 million against travelers who violated firearms regulations at airports around the country last year according to the agencies records.

TSA filed more than 4,000 actions against gun-carrying travelers in 2017, according to data obtained through a request made under the Freedom of Information Act by The Washington Post

Many of the civil claims arose from travelers bringing their guns into a handful of U.S. airports that are among the busiest hubs in the South or West. These claims are often in addition to criminal charges filed by state and local law enforcement agencies against air travelers who fail to follow firearms laws at national airports. 

Most claims— 3,932 or about 96 percent—came from guns detected in a passengers carry-on bag at the security checkpoint. Ten claims came from unlawfully packing a firearm in a checked bag. Although it is legal to fly with firearms in checked baggage, they must be packed in a specific manner and declared when the bag is checked.

A few found firearms were located in "sterile" areas - or areas after passengers have been screened at security checkpoints. Seven firearms were found at passenger boarding gates. 

For several years, the TSA has reported finding record numbers of firearms at airport checkpoints as both the number of people flying and the number of people legally carrying firearms have increased. The agency has expressed concern not only because of the potential safety threat that firearms pose inside an airport or on a place, but also because of the disruptions created at security checkpoints when a gun is found.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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