Arizona man stopped at Eastern Iowa Airport for having handgun in carry-on bag

Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 11:58 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Transportation Security Administration is warning travelers about traveling with firearms after officers stopped an Arizona man at the Eastern Iowa Airport for having a 9 mm handgun in his carry-on bag.

The man was briefly detained for police questioning after TSA officers said they found the handgun and three loaded magazines with 40 bullets. Police later allowed the man to return the gun to his vehicle.

This was the third gun found by TSA officers at the Eastern Iowa Airport this year. There were five guns found in 2019.

Nationwide, there were 4,432 firearms found in carry-on bags last year.

Officials said a first offense for carrying a loaded handgun into a checkpoint can be as much as $4,100, but can also go as high as $13,669 depending on the circumstances.

Firearms are not allowed to be carried onto airplanes, so this applies even to those with concealed gun carry permits.

“It is critical that passengers are aware of the contents of both their carry-on baggage as well as their checked baggage prior to traveling to prevent this type of security incident,” said Nicolas Menke, TSA’s Assistant Federal Security Director for Iowa. “Throughout the pandemic, our officers continue to remain vigilant and focused on security. They are very skilled at detecting prohibited and illegal items.”

The TSA said when someone shows up to a checkpoint with a firearm in their carry-on, the lane comes to a standstill until police resolve the incident. That can cause delays and keep travelers from getting to their gate.

The TSA has detailed civil penalties on its website, along with an explanation for how to travel with a firearm.

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