A passenger tried to bring a gun with a loaded magazine in a carry-on at Orlando International Airport early Thursday, adding to the record number of firearms confiscated at security checkpoints at the airport.
- TSA finds Ruger, loaded magazine in OIA carry-on
- Police: Person had concealed firearm license but will be charged
- It's illegal to bring weapons through airport checkpoints
- Record number of firearms confiscated at OIA this year
The passenger, whose name has not been released, was carrying a Ruger with a magazine loaded with 10 rounds of .22-caliber ammunition, according to Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Sari Koshetz.
The person has a valid Florida concealed weapons license, but charges will be filed for carrying a concealed firearm in a place prohibited by law, Orlando Police spokeswoman Michelle Guido said. Federal law prohibits people from taking weapons through airport checkpoints. The person also faces a civil penalty of $13,000.
The incident caused long backups at OIA checkpoints during a busy holiday rush.
“(It was) 5:30 in the morning, one of our very busiest times. It caused us to shut down one of our lanes for up to 15 minutes," said Jerry Henderson, federal security director of TSA in Orlando. "So really, it was a huge impact at a very busy time.”
TSA's Koshetz said guns taken onto planes must be unloaded, in a locked case and declared to the airline, and ammo must be in a checked back.
The Ruger was the 91st weapon intercepted by TSA officers at OIA this year. Last year, TSA stopped 86 guns.
Last year, OIA was one of the top 10 airports in the country for passengers bringing guns to checkpoints, "which is a dangerous and disturbing trend," Koshetz said.
"Most of the guns our officers intercept are loaded," Koshetz told the Associated Press. "You see the way many passengers fling their carry-on bags onto the X-ray belts in the checkpoints. An accidental discharge could have tragic results."
Some of the items that were stopped at Orlando International Airport security checkpoints just in the week before Christmas 2017 include grenades, brass knuckles, a whip and a sword. (Transportation Security Administration)