A realistic replica of a handgun was confiscated by security at Salt Lake City International Airport on Sunday.
The replica, which turned out to be an elaborate case for a flash drive, appeared on the X-ray screen during a routine check of carry-on baggage at 7:10 p.m.
Transportation Security Administration officers determined the item was a replica and the passenger surrendered it. He was allowed to board his flight to Phoenix and no charges were filed, said TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said Monday.
Dankers said this type of situation is a common occurrence for TSA officers.
“Nationwide, we screen almost two million passengers every day, so we see all types of things,” Dankers said.
Dankers stressed that replica firearms are not allowed in carry-on luggage. The TSA does allow passengers to take an unloaded gun in checked baggage, but only if it is in a locked, hard-sided container and declared to the airline. A firearm is never allowed in carry-on baggage.
Despite these rules, it has been a busy year for the TSA.
Nationwide, approximately 860 firearms have been discovered by TSA at security checkpoints thru the end of June 2013, Dankers said.
So far this year at the Salt Lake airport, 21 guns have been found at security checkpoints.