CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Transportation Security Administration officers at West Virginia International Yeager Airport stopped a Raleigh County, W.Va., man with a loaded handgun at the security checkpoint on Saturday, Nov. 12. The .32 caliber handgun was loaded with eight bullets, including one in the chamber.
When the TSA officer spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, airport police were alerted, came to the checkpoint and confiscated the weapon from the traveler, a resident of Beckley, W.Va., and issued him a citation. When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. Guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.
“Our officers are vigilant and focused on their mission to help ensure that dangerous weapons are not getting carried onto an aircraft,” said John C. Allen, TSA’s Federal Security Director for West Virginia. “We have no concerns if a firearm is packed properly so it can be transported in a checked bag where nobody has access to it during a flight. However, carrying a loaded gun to an airport security checkpoint is a costly mistake to make.”
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.
TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.
TSA Firearms Caught at the West Virginia International Yeager Airport checkpoint, 2017 to 2022
(As of 11/13/22)
Nationwide, TSA officers detected 5,972 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year. Of the guns caught by TSA in 2021, about 86 percent were loaded.