Security intercepted seven guns in seven days at the Salt Lake City International Airport — and six of them were loaded.
According to a news release from the Transportation Security Administration, all of the weapons were discovered during routine screening of carry-on bags. Salt Lake City police were called, the guns were confiscated, and the seven passengers were interviewed. There is no indication the incidents are related, according to TSA, and no indication of any threat. However, that does not mean the gun owners are in the clear.
“There is no excuse for bringing a firearm to the security checkpoint when there is an established and accepted procedure for packing a firearm for travel in checked luggage,” said Mark Lewis, TSA Federal Security Director for Utah.
The incidents may prove costly to the passengers — five men and two women — who had guns in their carry-on bags. According to the TSA, it will review the incidents and levy a civil penalty, ranging from $2,050 to $10,250, against each gun owner. The TSA takes into consideration whether the guns were loaded and whether there was “accessible ammunition.”
All seven passengers also were carrying ammunition. The weapons and ammunition were confiscated on the following days:
Thursday, Oct. 3 • A loaded 9 mm Smith & Wesson M&P Shield gun and eight rounds of ammunition.
Friday, Oct. 4 • A loaded .380 caliber Kel-Tec firearm and five rounds of ammunition.
Saturday, Oct. 5 • A loaded 9 mm FN Herstal FNS-9 gun and 17 rounds of ammunition.
Sunday, Oct. 6 • A loaded .22 caliber North American Arms firearm and five rounds of ammunition.
Monday, Oct. 7 • A loaded .380 caliber Ruger LCP firearm and six rounds of ammunition.
Tuesday, Oct. 8 • An unloaded .22 caliber Ruger Sturm firearm and 97 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition.
Wednesday, Oct. 9 • A loaded 9 mm Smith & Wesson pistol with an additional magazine and 15 rounds of ammunition.
Passengers who are caught with guns in their carry-on bags will also have their Trusted Traveler status, including TSA Pre-Check expedited screening, revoked for a period of time that will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
The TSA has intercepted 65 guns at the Salt Lake airport so far in 2019; it intercepted 73 in 2018. Nationally, TCA has discovered more than 3,300 guns in carry-on luggage so far this year.