SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The Transportation Security Administration is urging flyers to double-check their carry-on bags before going to the airport.
For the second week in a row, the agency has found a record number of firearms at security check-points.
So far this year, police have confiscated nearly 2,000 guns. That’s up by about 400 from this time last year.
We looked into what could happen to you, your gun, and your wallet, even if it’s just an honest mistake.
Three guns have been confiscated in the last two weeks alone, and that’s just at Greenville International Airport.
“The fine was shocking because I think it was a pretty large fine, and you know, he also had all of the costs associated with missing his flight and they detained him for however many hours,” gun owner and flyer Harris Darver said about his friend.
Not to mention, security lines, halted as the TSA waits for police to arrive.
And the fine is large because there are two of them- one from law enforcement and the other from the TSA.
“And that can go up to a maximum of up to $11,000 for a first offense,” TSA Regional Spokesperson Mark Howell said.
We asked Howell how likely it is for TSA to issue a fine like that for a passenger that forgets to take a gun out of a bag, and he said “regardless of the excuse we get, we almost always issue a civil penalty to those folks that bring firearms to a checkpoint.”
We then asked Roslyn Weston with GSP if people can get their guns back.
“If their only charge is violating rules and regulations of the airport, that carries a $470 fine, $274 of that is court costs, the other 200 is an airport fine. If they are charged with that, once they pay that fine, they can write a letter to our Chief of police and get their gun returned to them,” Weston said.
The only way to get your own gun safely on the plane is to check it. And the TSA says it must be unloaded, in a locked hard case, and you must declare it at the ticket counter.
When the TSA does catch a gun in a bag, the most common excuse is, “I forgot.”
“Hopefully, I’m smart enough not to do that,” Darver said.
Still, with a 20% up-stick from last year, and numbers so far this year that point to an even bigger surge, the TSA says people who pack heat must be warned not to pack it on their carry-on.
We checked with all the regional airports and found out that GSP has had 10 guns confiscated this year so far. And only 13 in all of last year.
Charlotte has had 42 and Atlanta has already had 110 so far.
You can click here to view the TSA instructions you should follow if you want to check a gun.