Traveling may have been a tough decision across the United States in 2021 as COVID-19 continued to spread rampantly, but that hasn’t stopped the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from discovering record numbers of undeclared firearms in carry-on baggage at Idaho airports over the past year.
The TSA discovered 40 firearms in carry-on bags in the state in 2021, including 34 from the Boise airport. Four were also found at Idaho Falls Regional Airport and one gun each at Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport in Lewiston and Magic Valley Regional Airport in Twin Falls.
Boise Airport ranks 44th in the nation for firearms discovered last year, with the TSA also setting an annual national record with 5,972 firearms discovered in 2021. All of these firearms were discovered through routine X-ray screening of hand luggage.
“TSA Idaho is very proud of the role we have continued to play for nearly 20 years now in ensuring the safety of those on board aircraft in the Gem State. Even so, we sincerely wish there were fewer opportunities for firearms to be found in passenger luggage,” Andy Coose, TSA Director of Federal Security for Idaho, said in a statement. hurry.
At Idaho’s six commercial airports – the four named above plus Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey and Pocatello Area Airport in Pocatello – TSA agents screened approximately 2.4 million passengers and crew in 2021.
That’s up from the 2020 total of 1.3 million passengers and crew statewide. The TSA only discovered 24 firearms statewide in 2020.
The punishment for attempting to smuggle a gun through a TSA checkpoint is not limited to potential felony citations. Travelers may also face civil penaltiesincluding disqualification from trusted traveler status and revocation of TSA PreCheck expedited screening benefits.
The TSA assesses each firearm on a case-by-case basis and decides the penalty based on a number of factors, including whether the firearm was loaded and if there was accessible ammunition.
Even if a traveler has a concealed weapons permit, they are not allowed to store weapons in their carry-on baggage.
“The numbers tell the story, and too many people bring guns in carry-on luggage,” Coose said. “Before you go to the airport, we implore all passengers to carefully inspect the contents of your own bag to ensure that you have nothing prohibited with you when you arrive at the TSA checkpoint.”
This does not mean that a firearm cannot be transported on a commercial flight.
During the check-in process, travelers may declare a firearm, ammunition and any firearm parts at the airline ticket counter. From there, the firearm can be transported if it is unloaded, packed in a locked hard case and placed in checked baggage.