Officials from the Transportation Security Administration in South Dakota stopped a passenger with a loaded handgun from getting onto a plane in the fourth such incident at the Sioux Falls Airport this year.
During the routine screening of carry-on luggage this past Tuesday, a TSA officer at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport spotted a silhouette of a handgun on the X-ray screen, the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement detailing the event on Tuesday.
Airport officials immediately alerted the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office who responded to the airport's security screening area and discovered that the firearm was loaded.
This is not the first time this has happened at Sioux Falls Regional Airport. In fact, it is the fourth time this year that it has happened. A total of nine firearms were confiscated by authorities at the same airport in 2022.
"As summer travel picks up, these incidents present a danger to our dedicated workforce, and the traveling public," Acting South Dakota TSA Federal Security Director David Durgan said. "We encourage all travelers to know the exact location of their firearm at all times and to pack their luggage starting with a completely empty bag to ensure no prohibited items are accidentally brought to the checkpoint."
The TSA recently announced that the penalty for bringing weapons to an airport has increased with the fine being as high as $14,950 for a single infraction of the law, depending on the circumstances in each case, the TSA said.
"TSA will continue to revoke TSA PreCheck eligibility for at least five years for passengers caught with a firearm in their possession," officials said. "Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed separately from ammunition in a locked hardback case and declared at the airline check-in counter."
The TSA reminded people after the incident that firearm possession laws vary by state and that travelers should check for firearm laws in the jurisdictions they are flying to and from.
Details on how to properly travel with a firearm are posted on the TSA's website and officials said that travelers should also contact the airline they are flying with to see if there are any additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.