Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA) kept a male traveler from bringing a loaded firearm onto an aircraft this morning. The firearm was discovered during routine X-ray screening of carry-on luggage at the airport’s security checkpoint.
The firearm find occurred around 4:50 a.m. at SBA when a TSA officer spotted the image of a handgun on the X-ray screen. TSA notified officers with the Santa Barbara Airport Police who responded to the security checkpoint and removed the firearm from the X-ray tunnel. The passenger, who was ticketed for travel to Phoenix Sky Harbor International, was escorted out of the security checkpoint by law enforcement.
The firearm – a loaded 9 mm Beretta 92FS – was in the carry-on bag along with a magazine loaded with 14 rounds of ammunition. This if the first firearm discovered in carry-on luggage at SBA so far this year. In 2022, TSA officers discovered two firearms at SBA at the security checkpoint.
Today’s firearm discovery illustrates why TSA officers must remain vigilant as they screen one bag, one passenger at a time,” said TSA Federal Security Director at SBA Anita Minaei. “Because the discovery of even one firearm in carry-on luggage is one too many, I am asking firearm owners who choose to travel with a gun on a commercial aircraft to take a few minutes to review the policies and procedures for traveling with a firearm.”
TSA will review the circumstances of the firearm incident and levy a civil penalty against the passenger. The recommended civil penalty for a firearm starts at $2,050 and can go up to the statutory maximum of more than $14,950 per violation. TSA evaluates each incident on a case-by-case basis.
In addition to civil penalties, individuals who violate rules regarding traveling with firearms will have Trusted Traveler status and TSA PreCheck® expedited screening benefits revoked for a period of time. The duration of the disqualification will depend upon the seriousness of the offense and if there is a repeated history of violations. Even if a traveler has a concealed weapons permit, firearms are not permitted in carry-on luggage.
Firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage. Ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are also prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be checked. Any type of replica firearm is prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.
At the airport during the check-in process, a passenger should go to the airline ticket counter to declare the firearm, ammunition and any firearm parts. Prior to traveling, passengers are encouraged to check gun laws and regulations at their destination to ensure they are in compliance with local and state laws. TSA also recommends travelers check with their airline prior to their flight to ensure they comply with any airline-specific requirements.