GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Several recent cases of loaded firearms being found inside bags at Mississippi airports have officials hoping to clarify what is and isn't allowed on a plane.
On July 13, a 33-year-old Saucier man was arrested at Gulfport Biloxi International Airport when Transportation Security Administration agents said they found a loaded .38 revolver in his bag. That gun was discovered as the man tried to board a flight to Dallas-Fort Worth. The weapon was confiscated and the man was arrested.
Tuesday, TSA agents intercepted two loaded firearms at checkpoints at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport. A loaded .32 caliber revolver was discovered on the x-ray in a passenger's carry-on bag. Agents said the bag belonged to a 62-year-old Jackson woman.
Another loaded firearm was discovered in a bag belonging to a 42-year-old Yazoo City man who was flying to Washington Reagan. In both cases, Jackson Municipal Airport Authority Police were alerted, took possession of the bags and arrested the passengers.
Domestic passengers can travel with firearms, but it has to be in the checked baggage, and the weapons must be properly packaged and declared. Firearms should be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided case, and packed separately from ammunition.
Firearms, however, are not allowed in carry-on bags; loaded weapons are never allowed.
The TSA spokeswoman for Mississippi, Sari Koshetz, suggests passengers, "Unpack before packing to be sure you do not have prohibited items such as guns in your carry-on bag."
In addition to the TSA rules, airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Koshetz advises travelers to contact the airline to learn specifics on the carrier's firearm and ammunition carriage policies.
More information on the proper transport of firearms can be found online: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition
More than 900 firearms have been intercepted by TSA agents across the country so far this year. Passengers who bring firearms to a checkpoint face, in addition to criminal charges, a civil penalty from TSA of up to $11,000.