Transportation Security Administration officers stopped a loaded handgun from making its way onto a plane at South Dakota's Sioux Falls Regional Airport — the fourth time this has happened there this year.
During a routine carry-on luggage screening Tuesday, TSA said an officer spotted the firearm on the X-ray screen. Officers immediately alerted Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office and Sioux Falls Police, who confiscated the gun at the checkpoint.
This incident is the fourth of its kind so far this year. Last year, there were nine firearms confiscated at the same airport.
Acting South Dakota TSA Federal Security Director David Durgan said travelers should begin packing with an empty suitcase to make sure no prohibited items are accidentally brought to the airport.
"As summer travel picks up, these incidents present a danger to our dedicated workforce, and the traveling public," he said in a statement.
Penalty amounts for each violation vary case by case, though TSA PreCheck eligibility is revoked for at least five years in each case.
TSA recently increased the penalty amount, now possibly reaching as high as $14,950.
"When a passenger brings a firearm to the checkpoint, this consumes significant security resources and poses a potential threat to transportation security, in addition to being very costly for the passenger," TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement.
States and local governments have different firearm possession laws, but they're never allowed to go through security onto the plane. Unloaded guns are allowed in checked baggage if it's declared at the check-in counter and packed separately from ammunition in a locked hardback case.
TSA stopped 6,301 firearms in 2022, with more than 88% being loaded. This was nearly a 10% increase in confiscations from the year before.
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