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TSA warns against bringing firearms to airport security checkpoints

Updated: 07/24/2014 4:53 PM
Created: 07/24/2014 11:07 AM WNYT.com
By: Bill Lambdin

Despite decades of security screening at airports, the traveling public still isn't getting the message.

More than 1,800 handguns, rifles, shotguns and other firearms were taken from passengers trying to board flights last year at American airports.

That's almost double the amount found just four years ago.

In Albany on Thursday, a Transportation Security Administration official issued a warning.

“You would think that more than a dozen years after 9/11 that people would already know not to bring a firearm to the checkpoint but for some reason they're not remembering that,” said Lisa Farbstein of the Transportation Security Administration.

Basically it's not permitted for the traveling public to bring hand guns, rifles and shotguns, or even replicas of firearms into the passenger compartment of planes.

Screening procedures were established decades ago after flyers started using weapons to hijack planes to Cuba and other destinations off planned flight paths.

Over time security screening has been stepped up, even before 9/11 in 2001.

Usually you can bring firearms along with you when you travel by plane, provided you put them in checked baggage, disclose they're packed with your personal effects and fill out required paperwork and pay any fee.

However, if you just bring along your gun, packing heat in your pocket or stash it in your carryon, you're probably going to have a bad flying experience, even before you take off.

“Quite honestly, if you are the owner of a firearm, you really need to know where it is at all times,” Farbstein explained.

She says the most common excuse when a gun is discovered at airport security screening is that they forgot they had it with them.

Of course the whole reason people are required to take off belts, remove shoes, put their coats through x-ray screening and all the other steps that are now required is to detect weapons and reduce the opportunity for taking over planes and disrupting flights.

You'd think gun owners would understand they can't carry on their firearms, even if they don't read the signs.

It is possible to travel with a firearm, provided it's legal both where you're leaving and where you're traveling to. Just not in your pocket or in your carry-on.  The weapon needs to be disclosed to the airline at baggage check-in.

There's paperwork to fill out, probably a fee to be paid. Generally the firearms needs to be locked in a hard-sided case and checked, to be carried with the other luggage in a separate compartment that you can't reach in flight.

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