Man arrested after gun found in carry-on bag, TSA reports 3 guns found at Austin airport in 2 days

Carlos Romero Junior

Austin Police Department

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man was arrested Tuesday at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after attempting to bring a gun in a backpack through an airport screening checkpoint, according to an arrest affidavit.

Police say a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Agent saw an image resembling a firearm inside of a container while screening bags with a x-ray machine around 2:40 p.m. on Tuesday.

Carlos Romero Jr., 22, later identified himself as the owner of the bag to the TSA agent, according to the affidavit. Romero told the TSA agent that he thought it was OK to bring the pistols on the airplane as long as they were in a locked container.

Police say the TSA agent saw that the guns were locked inside a metal safe inside the bag, but also found the keys to the safe. Romero told TSA he didn’t have a concealed handgun license, according to the affidavit.

Romero was charged with carrying a weapon in a prohibited place.

In a release, TSA reports finding three total firearms in two travelers’ bags last week. On Monday, a man was arrested at AUS after a loaded gun was found in his bag during a screening. The man stated he was traveling to Louisville, Kentucky and forgot the weapon was in his bag.

“Despite an 80% reduction in the number of people screened by TSA compared to this time last year, TSA officers have not lost their focus. They remain vigilant and continue to prevent security threats from making it onboard an airplane,” said TSA Federal Security Director (FSD) Michael Scott for Austin-Bergstrom Airport in the release. “Firearms, whether loaded or unloaded, should never be brought to the security checkpoint in carry-on luggage. Bringing your gun to the security checkpoint will cost you time, money and ultimately be very inconvenient for you.”

So far in 2020, TSA reports officers at the airport have detected 23 firearms in carry-on luggage. Nationwide, TSA officers have discovered 1,204 firearms to date and 84% of those have been loaded. In 2019, a total of 4,432 firearms were found in carry-on luggage at airports across the country.

Information on traveling legally with a firearm is available on the TSA’s website.

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