DOJ reminds flyers to not pack guns in their bags
The holiday travel season is approaching, and the Department of Justice is reminding travelers to make sure they leave their guns at home.
For five of the last six years, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta has led the country in the number of guns found at checkpoints, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
“As of November 12, 2018, 293 weapons have been recovered at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, of which 248 were found in the TSA passenger security lines, while 45 firearms were discovered in checked baggage,” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said. “Most passengers simply forget they have a gun in their possession until they reach the airport checkpoint. Unfortunately, the oversight is still a violation of the law.”
Mary Leftridge Byrd, TSA Federal Security Director for Atlanta, said the number of firearms detected at the Atlanta Airport this year has already surpassed last year's national record.
“Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has led the nation in firearms detected by Transportation Security Officers at security checkpoints five of the last six years, and has already surpassed last year’s national record of 245,” Mary Leftridge Byrd said. “We are urging passengers to thoroughly check their personal belongings for prohibited items like firearms, especially in carry-on bags, before leaving to the airport.”
An FBI spokesperson is reminding flyers of this information so that their trip doesn't have to take an unnecessary detour.
“The reason we are making this announcement today is that the message is clearly not hitting the mark,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Despite the fact that our enforcement policies have become more strict, incidents of guns detected at checkpoints have increased substantially. Don’t let your holiday travel plans be significantly disrupted for a simple mistake.”
Travelers who fail to leave their guns at home can expect a delay in their travel plans, a DOJ spokesperson added.
Violators who have a valid permit will have their guns confiscated, will be issued a federal citation, be required to appear in court and could have to $130 fine.
If a violator does not have a valid permit, they will be arrested, charged and may face up to 10 years in prison.
"In addition, offenders are also subject to civil penalties levied by the TSA that can range between $2,000 to $13,000 per violation," the DOJ spokesperson said.
For more information about TSA's policy for transporting guns, visit their website.