Man tries to load loaded assault rifle aboard New Orleans plane

Earlier this week, a 52-year-old man attempted to pass through a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoint at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) with a loaded assault rifle and 163 rounds of ammunition. in your hand luggage. .

On February 14, as the unidentified traveler was preparing to board a flight to Houston, agents at the TSA checkpoint found the assault rifle – later identified as a Palmetto PA-15 Multi AR firearm – already loaded. with 30 rounds of .300 caliber ammunition and packed in a carry-on bag along with five loaded magazines. The man in question now faces a federal civil penalty of up to $15,000.


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And the story gets worse. As it turns out, this incident wasn’t even the first of a passenger trying to get through security with a gun on the same day, as TSA agents told KLFY that a Glock (also loaded) had been impounded in someone’s carry-on earlier.

As of Feb. 9, TSA officers had sniffed more than 700 firearms at airport security checkpoints across the country, 92% of which were loaded, agency spokesman Robert Langston told USA Today. .

Less than two months into 2023, the US is seeing an increase in incidents of passengers trying to sneak weapons of all kinds through airport checkpoints. Late last year, after witnessing a record number of firearm violations (88% of them loaded), the TSA raised fines for travelers attempting to carry guns or gun parts, such as clips or magazines, for through checkpoints for just $15,000.

“TSA is still seeing a lot of firearms at airport checkpoints,” Langston said. “Firearms do not belong in the secure area of ​​airports or in the passenger cabins of airplanes. They pose an unnecessary risk at the TSA checkpoint, and failing to properly verify and declare a firearm can be a costly mistake.”

“Threat detection is our mission and our dedicated workforce is protecting the traveling public every day,” said TSA Director of Federal Security Arden Hudson. “Passengers need to focus on what’s inside their carry-on bags before entering our checkpoint. The introduction of a loaded weapon poses an unnecessary risk to both the traveling public and our employees.”

Last year, the TSA seized a total of 90 weapons from passengers’ carry-on luggage on MSY alone; while, in 2021, the agency ambushed 119 of these concealed firearms, placing New Orleans Airport in the top 10 in the nation for “passengers who violate federal law by bringing a firearm into a security checkpoint.”

“If you’re traveling with your gun, it should be in your checked baggage, but make sure you know exactly what the gun laws are on each side of your trip,” Hudson said. “Weapons may not be legal to carry, even in checked baggage in some jurisdictions.”

Details on the protocols and restrictions passengers must follow to safely and legally transport firearms when flying can be found on the TSA website.

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