Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at LaGuardia Airport in New York stopped a traveler from bringing the trigger and body of a 3D-printed handgun past the security checkpoint this week.
A TSA officer spotted the component of the handgun as the man’s roller bag entered the checkpoint x-ray machine. The item was confiscated by TSA and the man, a resident of Leawood, Kansas, was permitted to catch his flight without his gun.
Handguns and handgun parts, including 3D-printed guns, are prohibited past airport security checkpoints in the USA. In the last week, however, several ‘regular’ handguns have also been discovered in carry-on luggage.
On Friday, July 5, a TSA officer found a loaded Taurus G2C 9mm semi-automatic handgun in the carry-on luggage of a male traveler at Idaho Falls Regional Airport (ISA). The firearm was loaded with 12 rounds of ammunition. On Monday, July 8, a TSA officer working at Boise Airport (BOI), also in Idaho, discovered a loaded Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm handgun in the carry-on luggage of a male passenger headed to Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The firearm was loaded with five rounds of ammunition.
In both cases, when the TSA officer saw the image of the firearm on the X-ray screen, airport law enforcement was notified. The travelers were interviewed and the weapons were confiscated. The incidents have been referred to the local prosecutors’ offices for review. In addition to civil penalties, individuals who violate rules regarding traveling with firearms will have Trusted Traveler status and TSA Pre expedited screening benefits revoked for a period of time.
On Sunday, July 7, TSA officers detected a loaded 9mm handgun in luggage at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia. It was the 11th gun that TSA officers have detected at the airport so far this year, compared with 2018 when 16 firearms in total were detected.
Across the USA last year, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day, approximately a 7% increase nationally over the previous year. Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints in 2018 were loaded and nearly 34% had a bullet in the chamber.