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More Than 100 Loaded Firearms Found In Carry-Ons At DIA In 2017

Transportation Security Administration
Some of the firearms found at airport security checkpoints in 2017.

Last year Transportation Officials found 118 firearms in carry-on bags at Denver International Airport security checkpoints. 102 of them were loaded—including one that was in the handbag of a Colorado lawmaker.

KUNC reported Republican state Rep. Lori Saine was arrested in December after she forgot about a loaded handgun in her bag.

TSA spokesperson Carrie Harmon says they hear that a lot. She says it’s unfortunate because it can cause delays, alarm among travelers and it can be costly for the person who forgot they had a gun.

“Even one firearm brought to a checkpoint at any airport in the country is one too many,” Harmon says. “And unfortunately, we set another record in 2017. This is a record obviously we don’t want to be breaking every year.”

Denver’s Airport comes in number four on the top 10 list for firearm discoveries in 2017. Across the country, nearly 4,000 guns were found at security checkpoints around the country — up 17 percent from the previous year.

Harmon says two things happen when TSA finds a gun: They get local law enforcement involved and they issue a civil penalty. Police interview the person, take possession of the weapon and determine whether to charge them. TSA will notify the passenger of a civil penalty a few weeks later. For a loaded firearm, the average civil penalty is around $3,900 and can go as high as $13,000.

“But keep in mind,” Harmon says, “If we find a firearm at the checkpoint, no only is it going to delay the person who brought it, but everyone else standing in line behind him or her.”

Firearms are allowed in checked bags as long as they follow regulations. Harmon says passengers can check out the rules on their website and tweet at the TSA or call them at 866-289-9673 with any questions.