AUSTIN (KXAN) — According to a press release from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), 17 guns have been stopped at security checkpoints at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport so far in 2020.
Of the 17 guns stopped at ABIA, three were confiscated in one day by three separate officers.
At 4:35 a.m. on March 7, a TSA officer stopped a passenger who had a 9mm Glock. The gun was loaded with seven rounds with one in the chamber.
The same day at 8 a.m. a different TSA officer stopped another passenger who was also carrying a 9mm Glock with them, this one loaded with nine rounds. Finally at 4:03 p.m. a third officer stopped a passenger carrying a Ruger with 12 rounds.
“The diligence of our officers during these trying times,” said Federal Security Director Michael Scott, “continues to be a testament to their dedication to keep the traveling public safe.”
TSA officers at ABIA confiscated a total of 79 guns in 2019.
“If a gun is brought to the TSA screening checkpoint, the passenger will face a civil penalty that can exceed $13,000 and that fine is imposed even if you are not arrested or cited by our law enforcement partners,” noted Sari Koshetz, a spokesperson with the TSA. “In order to maintain social distancing and not have to face a bag search, passengers are reminded to know precisely what is in their bags before leaving for the airport.”
Despite airports being practically devoid of flyers due to concerns around the coronavirus pandemic, TSA officers say they continue to intercept guns at airports around the country. Firearms are allowed in checked bags, but they have to be declared to the airline at check-in, unloaded and placed in a locked, hard-sided case.
“During a time when passengers want to move through the checkpoint as quickly as possible to maintain that social distancing, being sure that your bag does not have to be opened by one of our officers to remove a prohibited item is tantamount,” Koshetz stressed.