After a record number of firearms found in carry-on bags in 2021, Boise airport officials have recorded a 75% increase in firearms detected so far this year.
In 2022, Transportation Security Administration officials have already found 21 firearms, according to a news release. By this time last year, they had found 12.
Early Thursday morning, officials found an unloaded Taurus 9mm handgun in the carry-on of a traveler heading to Phoenix, the statement said. After being questioned by officers from the Boise Police Department, she was allowed to travel without the weapon.
Earlier this week, TSA officials at Lewiston Nez Perce County Airport located a firearm in a traveler’s luggage – the first of the year there, the statement said.
“Today’s discovery of a firearm in a traveler’s carry-on baggage at the Boise airport is disappointing,” said Andy Coose, TSA’s Director of Federal Security for Idaho. , in the press release. “We continue to advise firearms owners that firearms are not permitted through the security checkpoint. Unfortunately, these notices have been ignored.
Depending on the circumstances, the TSA could impose a civil penalty on those who violate the ban, with the penalty starting at $2,050 and reaching as high as $10,000, according to the release.
If passengers with Trusted Traveler or TSA PreCheck privileges are caught with firearms, those privileges will be revoked for a period of time, the statement added.
Boise airport officials cited the significant amount of signage in and around the airline hub that reminds passengers to double-check their baggage for firearms and other weapons prohibited from travel.
“It is disheartening to continue to see passengers forgetting to remove these prohibited items from their carry-on baggage before travelling,” Boise Airport spokesman Sean Briggs told the Idaho Statesman via email. . “The airport appreciates the diligent work done by TSA agents in catching these contraband items, helping to keep the flying public safe.”
To legally carry firearms on planes, passengers must unload them and pack them in a “locked hard case” before putting them in a checked bag and declaring their presence at a counter, according to the press release. Other gun accessories should also be checked.
TSA officials across the country have discovered more than 2,900 firearms in carry-on luggage this year, the statement said. Last year, officials found 5,972 in total – itself a record – according to previous reports by Statesman.
Idaho Statesman reporter Kevin Fixler contributed to this report.
This story was originally published June 23, 2022 2:58 p.m.