Twenty-four handguns were found by Transportation Security Administration officers inside travelers’ carry-on luggage at five Idaho airports in 2019, with more than half being recovered from the Boise Airport, officials said in a news release Wednesday.
TSA officials said all firearms were found during the routine screening process at the airports’ security checkpoints.
Nineteen were recovered at the Boise Airport and two at Idaho Falls Regional Airport. There was one firearm found at the Friedman Memorial Airport in Sun Valley, Magic Valley Regional Airport in Twin Falls and Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport. No guns were recovered from the Pocatello Regional Airport — a first in two years.
The trend is down from the previous two years — TSA officers at Idaho airports found 27 firearms in 2018 and 36 in 2017. However, the trend is up from 2015 (16 firearms) and 2016 (22 firearms), the Idaho Press previously reported.
New signs that went up at the Boise Airport in June 2018 to remind travelers of the rules, with slogans such as “pack clothes, not heat” and “say goodbye to your little friend.”
“I am very proud of the fact that Idaho bucked the national trend of a 5% increase in guns found at checkpoints,” Andy Coose, the TSA Federal Security director for Idaho, said in Wednesday’s release. “We work very hard with our airport managers in Idaho and our law enforcement stakeholders to get the word out to Idahoans about the proper way to transport firearms, including creative signage at the Boise Airport. It appears that our efforts and our partners have paid off this past year.”
Nationwide, TSA officers found 4,432 firearms at airports across the country last year, according to the release. Of those recovered, 87% were loaded.
TSA officials said it is illegal for travelers, even those with a concealed carry permit, to transport firearms, ammunition, gun parts or any type of replica firearm in carry-on luggage, and anyone found with a gun during airport security screening could face thousands of dollars in fines.
“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,” according to the release.
More information about traveling with guns can be found at tsa.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition.