Loaded handgun found at MEM checkpoint - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Loaded handgun found at MEM checkpoint

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Airport security found a loaded handgun in a passenger's carry-on bag at Memphis International Airport.

Transportation Security Administration agents found the loaded Colt .25 caliber gun at 6 a.m.

The passenger was escorted out of the security checkpoint.

TSA said guns are allowed in checked baggage (under certain circumstances), but they are never allowed as carry-ons, nor can they be loaded.

Travelers said they are very grateful this gun was found before it was brought on a plane.

"Well I'm glad they caught him,” said traveler Paul Shiue. “I hope that they can catch everything like this and that's what they're for. So I'm glad they got him."

After seeing the gun, TSA officials immediately contacted airport police. Officers then too the bag and the passenger away from the checkpoint.

"You should always know the rules and regulations when you leave,” said Clifton Horton. “So you just need to prepare for that."

Police are uncertain if this was accidental or intentional. Either way, the gun owner could still face charges.

According to TSA rules, firearms can be on a plane if it is in a proper case, unloaded and in a checked bag stored underneath.

"I'm also a gun owner, and I can see how that would happen," said traveler Autumn Scott.

The TSA reports this is the seventeenth gun found in a security checkpoint at Memphis International Airport in 2015. A total of 23 were found last year.

"A lot of times people don't have time,” Scott said. “I mean they don't. They're running as fast as they can. There's hold ups at the counter. They just, you know, they don't think about it."

In addition to facing criminal charges, this passenger could also receive a fine from the TSA of up to $11,000.

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