Harrisburg man arrested for alleged attempt to bring loaded handgun onto plane at HIA

HARRISBURG — A Harrisburg man was arrested Saturday after Transportation Security Administration officers stopped him while he was trying to bring a loaded gun past a security checkpoint at Harrisburg International Airport, the TSA said Monday.

Officers found the 9mm handgun as it entered the checkpoint’s X-ray machine in the man’s carry-on bag. The gun was loaded with 10 bullets, TSA agents say.

The man was arrested by airport police.

The TSA says passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality, the TSA says.

Nationwide last year, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day, approximately a 7% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017, according to the TSA.

Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34% had a bullet in the chamber.

As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes in their carry-on bags. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900, the TSA says.

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