A Fairfield man was stopped and questioned Thursday after he brought a loaded handgun to a security checkpoint at the Portland International Jetport, the Transportation Security Administration said.

This loaded handgun was found in a backpack at a Portland International Jetport checkpoint on Friday. Photo courtesy of TSA

It is the fifth loaded gun found at security checkpoints in the Portland airport since November, and the second time this year that agents seized a handgun from a passenger attempting to bring a firearm through security.

The 9mm pistol was loaded with six rounds and was discovered in a pocket of a backpack when it was sent through an X-ray machine.

Police confiscated the gun, detained the man and questioned him, the TSA said in a statement. Portland police said the gun was later returned to him.

Last year, the TSA confiscated three handguns, and in 2018 agents found four, according to the federal agency.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms, but only if they are properly packaged in checked baggage and declared. Guns must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked and packed separately from ammunition.

Across the country, TSA agents seized 4,432 firearms from carry-on bags in 2019.

Bringing a firearm to a TSA checkpoint can lead to criminal charges, and TSA has the power to assess civil fines of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. A first offense carries an average penalty of $4,100, according to the agency.

Typically, passengers who bring a gun to a checkpoint are permitted to take possession so they can place it in a safe place – such as with a family member or in a locked vehicle – before they are allowed to board their flight.


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