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Man Caught With Loaded Gun At University Park Airport

A Lycoming County man was caught with a loaded handgun at University Park Airport on Monday, according to the Transportation Safety Administration.

TSA agents spotted the gun — a 9mm loaded with eight bullets — in the Linden man’s carry-on bag at the X-ray checkpoint. Agents contacted police, who confiscated the gun and detained the man for questioning. 

The incident had no impact on airport operations, and this was the first gun caught at University Park Airport’s checkpoint this year, according to a TSA press release.

Airport Authority Executive Director James Meyer said that the man did not intend to have the gun in his bag and that it was accidental. He said the gun was not concealed within the bag and did not have a bullet in the chamber.

“He was very apologetic,” Meyer said. “He wasn’t aware it was there.”

A TSA spokesperson said the man will likely face civil penalties, and Penn State police confirmed no criminal charges will be filed.

“…[I]ndividuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement,” the TSA press release said. “Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes in their carry-on bags.”

The TSA also has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. A first offense for carrying a firearm to a checkpoint typically carries a $4,000 penalty.

Air travelers are only permitted to transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only, according to the TSA. Firearms and ammunition must be declared to the airline when checking baggage at the ticket counter.

About 4,200 firearms were found in carry-on bags last year by TSA officers nationwide. 

“This is not an unusual occurrence,” Meyer said. “For us, we don’t find a lot of weapons, but this is not the first.”

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About the Author

Geoff Rushton (StateCollege.com)

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.

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