SPOKANE, Wash. — The Transportation Security Administration is seeing an increase of firearm discoveries at checkpoints nationally and locally.
In the last three weeks, passengers leaving Spokane International Airport brought nine loaded firearms in carry-on luggage to security checkpoints.
All nine guns were loaded, and each traveler was cited.
TSA wants to address this trend by reminding passengers how they can legally travel with firearms.
Passengers can travel with a firearm on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard sided case and placed in checked baggage. Same goes for ammunition, loaded or empty magazines or clips, and any firearm parts.
During the check-in process, you must declare your firearm, ammunition or firearm part at the airline ticket counter.
It's a good idea to even check your airline's policies on firearms as well.
In a demonstration by TSA today, public affairs director Lori Dankers said travelers are encouraged to use two locks on their case.
If a passenger brings a firearm to the TSA security checkpoint, officers notify airport law enforcement.
Then, the passenger will face arrest and criminal charges under Washington state law.
The recommended civil penalty for a firearm starts at $2,000 and can go up to $13,333 per violation.
Dankers adds that packing a firearm in your carry-on can also slow down checkpoint lines.
"They'll remove that firearm from the checkpoint, and the screening will start again," Dankers said. "Sometimes that can take a few minutes and people are standing there wondering what the delays are and then they become frustrated---they're not sure what's going on. So don't be that passenger that slows everybody down."
A good rule of thumb here is do not pack any firearms, ammunition or firearm parts in your carry on bag. Pack them unloaded in a hard sided case in your checked bag. If it's by accident or not, bringing them through security checkpoints will cost you.