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01/25/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/25/2023 14:42

TSA officers at SEA discovering firearms in carry-on luggage at record pace in 2023

Latest firearm find occurred Wednesday morning at SEA; 11th of year
Local Press Release
Wednesday, January 25, 2023

SEATTLE - Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) have discovered 11 firearms in travelers' carry-on luggage during routine X-ray screening at the airport's security checkpoints so far this year. This is up from seven firearms discovered at the same point in 2022.

The latest firearm discovery occurred today around 4:30 a.m. when a TSA officer spotted the image of a firearm on the X-ray screen. TSA notified the officers with the Port of Seattle Police Department. They responded to the security checkpoint and removed the firearm from the X-ray tunnel. The traveler, who was ticketed for travel to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, was escorted out of the security checkpoint by law enforcement.

Last week, TSA announced that TSA officers at SEA detected a record 113 firearms in travelers' carry-on luggage last year. At the current rate, TSA could break another record for firearm finds in 2023.

"There is no acceptable excuse a traveler can offer for bringing a firearm to the security checkpoint. Last week, we highlighted the record number of firearm discoveries in carry-on luggage at SEA. Since that announcement, TSA officers detected a firearm at the security checkpoint on Sunday and again today," said TSA Federal Security Director for Washington Gregory Hawko. "As a community, we are asking firearm owners to pause and commit to doing better when traveling with a gun. This is for the safety of TSA employees, the airport community and other travelers."

Those who bring prohibited items to the security checkpoint slow the screening process down for everyone during a time when it is critical that security operations run as smoothly and efficiently as possible to ensure a swift trip for everyone through the security screening process.

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.

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.

More information on traveling legally with a firearm is available on TSA's website. For information on how to travel with any type of item, visit TSA's "Can I Bring" website.

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