TSA finds loaded firearm at Midland International Air and Spaceport security checkpoint

TSA finds loaded firearm at Midland International Air and Spaceport security checkpoint

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Alarms went off at the airport Wednesday Feb. 3.

TSA agents found a gun in a carry-on, but the person who had it, was allowed to get on the plane.

Finding a gun in West Texas is not out of the ordinary, but new laws make it easier for passengers to continue their travels.

The gun was found by TSA agents during the morning hours at the Midland airport.

This was the first one found this year.

Last year 15 guns were found in Midland alone and more than 2500 were found throughout airports nationwide.

A 20 percent increase compared to 2014.

Guns are not allowed at any airport check points, it became a strict rule since 9-11.

Taking one can cost you a couple hundred dollars.

"A civil penalty for a firearm at a check point can be up to 11 thousand dollars," said TSA's Regional Public Affairs Manager Officer, Carrie Harmon.

"The average is about $3,000 for a loaded firearm and about half of that for an unloaded firearm."

Passengers are notified a couple weeks later how much TSA's penalties are worth.

Each one depends on a case by case basis.

But it is possible to take your gun on a flight if you choose to do so.

"There is a way to travel with firearms if you're going to be flying but they must be checked baggage," Harmon.

"You have to declare the firearm to your airline at the ticket counter when you check in and it has to be unloaded locked in a hard solid case."

Midland Police was called out to the airport to investigate, but a new defense passed at the beginning of September 2015 helped the passenger continue their travel.

This defense says that if the passenger leaves without a problem they won't be charged with a 3rd degree felony.

NewsWest 9 reached out city and police, they said they will be consulting with District Attorney's Office.

Part of it is questioning the passenger's intent and see where it leads.

So far he or she hasn't been charged.

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