TSA reports spike in firearms detected at Tampa Bay airports

Airport Security_526413

The badge and TSA logo patch are seen on the uniform of a Transportation Security Administration employee at one of the security checkpoints inside Lambert- St. Louis International Airport Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – New data from the Transportation Security Administration is showing an increase of detected firearms at airports in October.

Tampa International Airport officers detected 12 firearms at security checkpoints this month.

Smaller airports detected fewer firearms. However, they still saw an increase for this time of year.

Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport officers found two firearms. St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport had one.

So far this year, the number of firearms brought to TSA checkpoints in local airports nearly doubled since 2018.

Across Florida, 418 firearms have been detected at airport security checkpoints in 2019. Last year’s total was 518.

According to TSA policy, firearms can be transported in checked baggage after they are declared to the airline. They must be in a proper carrying case and unloaded. They are prohibited in carry-on bags.

The TSA outlines requirements of traveling with firearms on its website:

  • When traveling, comply with the laws concerning possession of firearms as they vary by local, state and international governments.
  • If you are traveling internationally with a firearm in checked baggage, please check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information and requirements prior to travel.
  • Declare each firearm each time you present it for transport as checked baggage. Ask your airline about limitations or fees that may apply.
  • Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm. Only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock unless TSA personnel request the key to open the firearm container to ensure compliance with TSA regulations. You may use any brand or type of lock to secure your firearm case, including TSA-recognized locks.
  • Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage but may be transported in checked baggage.
  • Replica firearms, including firearm replicas that are toys, may be transported in checked baggage only.
  • Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage.

“Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the checkpoint,” TSA Regional Spokesperson Mark Howell said. “Our advice is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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