2018 Holiday Travel Reminder
ATLANTA – As the upcoming holiday travel season approaches travelers are reminded to take extra care to ensure they have not packed firearms in their carry-on bags before leaving home. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has led the nation in the number of guns detected at checkpoints for five of the last six years.
“As of November 12, 2018, 293 weapons have been recovered at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, of which 248 were found in the TSA passenger security lines, while 45 firearms were discovered in checked baggage,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Most passengers simply forget they have a gun in their possession until they reach the airport checkpoint. Unfortunately, the oversight is still a violation of the law.”
“The reason we are making this announcement today is because the message is clearly not hitting the mark,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Despite the fact that our enforcement policies have become more strict, incidents of guns detected at checkpoints have increased substantially. Don’t let your holiday travel plans be significantly disrupted for a simple mistake.”
“Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has led the nation in firearms detected by Transportation Security Officers at security checkpoints five of the last six years, and has already surpassed last year’s national record of 245,” said Mary Leftridge Byrd, TSA Federal Security Director for Atlanta. “We are urging passengers to thoroughly check their personal belongings for prohibited items like firearms, especially in carry-on bags, before leaving to the airport.”
Travelers who do not comply with firearm laws can expect a delay in their travel plans. Violators with a valid weapons permit will have their firearm confiscated and issued a federal citation. They will also be required to appear in court and will be subject to a $130 fine. Violators without a valid weapons permit will be arrested, charged and may face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. In addition, offenders are also subject to civil penalties levied by the TSA that can range between $2,000 to $13,000 per violation.
Travelers are advised to become familiar with TSA’s policy for transporting their guns prior to traveling to the airport, as firearms are permitted in checked baggage. (See TSA’s policy here). Don’t put a damper on your holiday travel – properly secure your firearms before your plans unravel.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.
WE WANT TO THANK ALL THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE DEDICATED THEIR LIVES TO KEEPING OUR COUNTRY SAFE.