AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday officers have prevented 100 guns from making it on airplanes at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) so far this year. TSA said most of those guns were loaded.

That is more than were caught in all of 2018, all of 2019 or all of 2020.

“The most common excuse we hear is that someone forgot that they had their gun with them,” said Gilbert Almaraz, TSA’s federal security director for AUS, in the release. “That’s no excuse. If you own a firearm, you need to know where it is at all times. It’s part of being a responsible gun owner.”

2022 (so far)100
TSA gun catches at AUS checkpoints (Courtesy: TSA)

“The penalties are stiff for carrying a gun to a checkpoint,” Almaraz said. “You could face criminal penalties on top of federal civil citations that can be extremely costly. My advice is to not make the mistake of bringing your gun to the checkpoint in the first place. We’re happy to help transport your firearm. All we ask is that you pack it safely and properly for your flight.”

TSA said it can issue a civil penalty to travelers who bring weapons with them to a checkpoint. Those civil penalties can stretch into thousands of dollars. Among the penalties is losing TSA PreCheck privileges.

TSA said owning a concealed gun carry permit does not allow you to carry-on a firearm.

You can travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at the airline ticket counter.

Firearms must be unloaded, placed in a hard-sided locked case and packed separately from ammunition. Then you must take the locked case to the airline check-in counter to be declared.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm on its website.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 5,972 guns at airport security checkpoints last year, TSA said. Eighty-six percent of those guns were loaded.