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Firearm found in man’s luggage at Medford airport

A man preparing to depart from the Medford airport attempted to board a flight with a loaded firearm Tuesday morning, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The passenger had a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, which contained five rounds of ammunition, inside his carry-on luggage. The firearm was detected during routine X-ray screening at the security checkpoint.

Airport law enforcement was notified and removed the firearm. They interviewed the traveler, who was allowed to continue onto his flight bound for San Francisco International Airport.

It was the first firearm found inside carry-on luggage at the Medford airport this year. TSA detected 14 firearms during routine security screening during 2021.

“One gun in carry-on luggage is one gun too many,” said Kathleen McDonald, acting TSA federal security director for Oregon. “In light of these recent incidents, we are reminding all travelers to check the contents of your luggage prior to coming to the airport to ensure you don’t bring any type of prohibited item to the TSA security checkpoint.”

This firearm discovery comes on the heels of two firearm finds since Sunday in the security checkpoints at Portland International Airport. Both passengers were bound for Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas.

TSA officers found was a loaded 9mm Walther PSS semi-automatic pistol Sunday evening in a traveler’s carry-on bag. They discovered an unloaded .45-caliber Metro Arms American Classic firearm Tuesday morning a bag.

There was no indication the two incidents are linked. Those firearm discoveries were the fourth and fifth of the year at the Portland airport, TSA reported.

TSA officers discovered 5,972 firearms in carry-on luggage nationwide in 2021, setting an all-time record for the agency. All gun owners are urged to review the procedures for traveling with firearms on a commercial aircraft.

Even if a traveler has a concealed weapons permit, firearms are not permitted in carry-on luggage. People bringing guns to airport security checkpoints in their carry-on luggage can face civil penalties.

TSA evaluates each firearm incident case by case. Among factors considered when determining the civil penalty amount include whether the firearm was loaded and whether ammunition was accessible.

Individuals who violate rules regarding traveling with firearms will have Trusted Traveler status and TSA PreCheck expedited screening benefits revoked for a period of time. The duration of the disqualification will depend upon the seriousness of the offense and whether there is a repeated history of violations.

Firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage. Any type of replica firearm is prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.

At the airport during the check-in process, a passenger needs to go to the airline ticket counter to declare the firearm, ammunition and any firearm parts. Prior to traveling, passengers are encouraged to check gun laws and regulations at their destination to ensure they are in compliance with local and state laws. TSA also recommends travelers check with their airline prior to their flight to ensure they comply with any airline-specific requirements.

TSA has additional traveler information pertaining to the transportation of firearms and ammunition. A full summary of TSA’s civil penalties for prohibited items is also available.

Travelers can use the “Can I Bring?” feature on the TSA website or on the TSA mobile app, myTSA. Travelers can also Tweet or Message “@AskTSA” if they have a travel question or are unsure whether an item is allowed through security in a carry-on bag. Just snap a picture or send a question and get real-time assistance daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. PST.