In the span of a week (April 20-27), the Transportation Security Administration discovered loaded firearms at security checkpoints in every major airport in Tennessee.
- April 20, 5 p.m.- Memphis International Airport; loaded Ruger .380 pistol
- April 20, 4:15 p.m.- Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport; loaded Smith and Wesson .380 pistol
- April 27, 10:45 a.m.- McGhee Tyson Airport; loaded North American Arms .22 caliber revolver
- April 27, 6:30 p.m.- Tri-Cities Regional Airport; loaded Taurus .45 caliber revolver
- April 27; 7:30 p.m.- Nashville International Airport; loaded Beretta .25 caliber pistol
Additionally, two firearms (a loaded Glock 33 and a Smith and Wesson .38 Special) were found in a passenger’s carry-on bag at Nashville International Airport at 6:15 a.m. on Tuesday.
In each incident, TSA immediately alerted airport police who took possession of the bag.
While firearms may be transported in checked baggage (provided they are declared to the airline, in a proper carrying case and unloaded), they are prohibited in carry-on bags.
The TSA reminds passengers that it is important for them to thoroughly search their bags for any potential dangerous weapons or prohibited items before departing for the airport. Safety is the first concern of the TSA, and having these items in bags that are traveling with you on the aircraft is dangerous to other travelers and can be easily mistaken as an intentional attempt to bring a prohibited item onto an aircraft.
“Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the checkpoint,” said Mark J. Howell, TSA regional spokesperson. “Our advice is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.”
Through March 31, TSA officers have discovered 555 firearms at checkpoints across the U.S. A total of 2,213 were discovered in 2014.