TSA Officer Discovers Loaded Gun in Carry-on Luggage at MFR

An officer with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Rogue Valley International Medford Airport (MFR) discovered a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver loaded with five rounds of ammunition in the carry-on luggage of a male passenger ticketed for travel to San Francisco International Airport Tuesday morning. The firearm was detected during routine X-ray screening in the security checkpoint.

Gun Found In Luggage at MFR

When the TSA officer saw the image of the firearm on the X-ray screen, airport law enforcement was notified and responded to the security checkpoint. Law enforcement removed the firearm from the checkpoint and interviewed the traveler who was allowed to continue onto his flight.

This firearm discovery comes on the heels of two firearm finds since Sunday in the security checkpoints at Portland International Airport (PDX). TSA officers at PDX detected an unloaded .45 caliber Metro Arms American Classic firearm Tuesday morning in the bag of a passenger flying to Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas. PDX TSA officers also found a loaded 9mm Walther PSS semi-automatic pistol Sunday evening in a carry-on bag of a traveler headed to LAS. There is no indication the two incidents are linked.

Properly packed firearm photo
Firearm properly packed for travel on a commercial aircraft.

“One gun in carry-on luggage is one gun too many. 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,” said acting TSA Federal Security Director for Oregon Kathleen McDonald. “We are asking all gun owners to review the procedures for traveling with firearms on a commercial aircraft. But rest assured, TSA officers will continue to screen for weapons and other potential security threats to ensure those item do not make it into the cabin of an aircraft.”

This is the first firearm discovery at MFR in carry-on luggage in 2022. Last year, TSA officers at MFR detected 14 firearms during routine screening in the security checkpoint. TSA recently announced that nationwide, TSA officers discovered 5,972 firearms in carry-on luggage in 2021, setting an all-time record for the agency. Sunday’s and Tuesday’s firearm discoveries were the fourth and fifth of the year at PDX.

Travelers face civil penalties for bringing guns to the security checkpoint in carry-on luggage. TSA evaluates each firearm incident on a case-by-case basis. Among the factors TSA considers when determining the civil penalty amount include whether the firearm was loaded and whether there was accessible ammunition. Even if a traveler has a concealed weapons permit, firearms are not permitted in carry-on luggage.

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 if 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.

Courtesy of TSA