TSA Officers in Los Angeles Discovering Firearms in Carry-On Luggage at Accelerated Pace in May

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 21, 2024 05:32 AMNews
A black handgun with scattered bullets
TSA officers uncover loaded firearms in May. Source: unsplash

TSA officers in the Los Angeles area have reported a significant increase in the discovery of firearms in travelers' carry-on luggage during the first half of May. Eleven firearms have been found during routine X-ray screenings at various airports, compared to just three discoveries during the same period last year.

The most recent incident occurred on Wednesday at Long Beach Airport, where TSA officers discovered a loaded Colt .45 in a passenger's carry-on bag. The passenger was traveling to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

On Tuesday, TSA officers at Long Beach Airport found a loaded .357 caliber Glock with nine rounds of ammunition in a traveler's carry-on. Both incidents involved male travelers who were cited by the Long Beach Police Department on state charges and received enhanced security screenings before continuing their travels.

At Los Angeles International Airport, officers discovered a loaded 9mm Sig Sauer P320 pistol in a carry-on bag of a passenger traveling to Paris. This traveler was arrested by Los Angeles World Airports Police and also received enhanced security screening.

"The surge in firearm discoveries in carry-on luggage in the Los Angeles area this month is troubling," said TSA Federal Security Director in Los Angeles, Jason Pantages. He emphasized the importance of travelers checking their bags for prohibited items before arriving at the airport.

Since January 1, 2024, TSA officers at airports in the Los Angeles area, including LAX, LGB, Ontario International, John Wayne, and Hollywood Burbank, have found 54 firearms in carry-on luggage. This is a slight increase from the 51 firearms found during the same period last year.

Nationally, TSA has discovered over 2,300 firearms in carry-on luggage so far in 2024. With the anticipated busy summer travel season, TSA urges passengers to avoid bringing firearms and other prohibited items to the airport, as this slows down the screening process for all travelers.

In addition to potential criminal charges, travelers found with firearms in their carry-on luggage face civil penalties up to $14,950 and the loss of Trusted Traveler status and TSA PreCheck® benefits for at least five years. Firearms are only allowed in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case, and declared at the airline ticket counter.

TSA continues to remind passengers to be aware of the contents of their carry-on bags before heading to the security checkpoint and to utilize available resources to determine what items are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage.

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