Even with few travelers, 3 firearms found at Salt Lake airport checkpoints this week

(Photo courtest of the Transportation Security Administration) A gun that was found on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, at a security checkpoint at Salt Lake City International Airport.

Travel may be light at Salt Lake City International Airport because of COVID-19 restrictions, but it’s been a banner week for discovering firearms at security checkpoints.

The Transportation Security Administration found three guns during X-ray screening of carry-on baggage this week, bringing the total found there so far this year to 40. These include:

• On Thursday afternoon, an officer found a loaded .45-caliber handgun in the luggage of a passenger headed for Las Vegas.

• On Wednesday evening, a .38-caliber revolver loaded with five rounds of ammunition was found in the luggage of a person headed for Dallas-Fort Worth.

• On Monday night, a loaded 9 mm pistol was found in the bag of a passenger headed for Atlanta.

“Despite a reduction in the number of travelers screened through airport security checkpoints, TSA continues to discover guns and other weapons in carry-on luggage,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Utah Mark Lewis.

He adds, “These three incidents should serve as a vivid reminder to all travelers that TSA officers are on the lookout for prohibited items, preventing them from making it into the cabin of a commercial aircraft.”

He notes that civil penalties for trying to take a firearm through security start at $2,050 and can go up to the statutory maximum of more than $10,250 per violation.

The three firearms found at SLC are among more than 30 firearms detected by TSA nationwide in carry-on luggage over the past three days. Since Jan. 1, TSA officers have discovered 1,454 firearms at airport security checkpoints across the country.

In addition to the loaded firearms, on Tuesday, a TSA officer in Salt Lake City found a flashlight-style stun gun in the bag of a traveler headed to Chicago.

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 also are prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be checked.

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.