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TSA concerned about frequency of guns carried to Austin airport security checkpoints

This week, the agency confiscated its 100th gun so far this year.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is worried about how many guns are being carried to security checkpoints at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS).

This week, the agency confiscated its 100th gun so far this year. The TSA said most of the guns agents find are loaded, and the most common excuse travelers give is that they forgot they had their gun with them.

“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," said Gilbert Almaraz, the TSA's federal security director for AUS.

The TSA team at Austin's airport detected 110 guns in 2021, 49 in 2020 and 77 in 2019.

Travelers are allowed to travel with guns in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at the airline ticket counter. Guns must be unloaded, placed in a hard-sided locked case and packed separately from ammunition. The locked case must also be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. Learn more about properly traveling with a firearm.

Civil penalties for bringing a gun into a security checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, according to the TSA. These penalties apply to travelers regardless of whether or not they have a concealed gun carry permit.

The TSA said nationwide, TSA officers detected 5,972 guns at airport security checkpoints in 2021. Eighty-six percent of those guns were loaded.  

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