Indianapolis, Indiana – Security checkpoints at Indianapolis International Airport (IND) have seen a notable uptick in firearm discoveries this year, raising concerns about the safety and efficiency of the screening process. Last week, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers identified and stopped three loaded firearms, pushing the yearly total to 70. To put this in perspective, in the entirety of 2022, the TSA had stopped a total of 68 firearms at IND checkpoints.
These recent incidents occurred on two successive days. On Wednesday, Sept. 13, one firearm was detected. However, the subsequent day, Thursday, Sept. 14, saw two separate incidents involving loaded firearms. In each instance, the Indiana Airport Authority police were promptly informed. They swiftly responded, arriving at the checkpoints to confiscate the weapons.
Detailing the protocol in such events, Indiana TSA Federal Security Director, Aaron Batt explained, “When someone shows up with a firearm at the checkpoint, the conveyor belt is stopped until the police arrive and can remove the carry-on bag from the X-ray machine to safely secure the weapon.” Batt expressed his concerns regarding the implications of such events. Carrying a firearm to a checkpoint doesn’t only disrupt the individual in question but also delays all those queued behind. He emphasized the importance of never bringing guns in carry-on luggage due to significant security and safety concerns.
The TSA has strict penalties in place for firearm violations. Depending on the specifics of each case, fines can escalate up to $14,950. Moreover, any passenger found in possession of a firearm at a checkpoint could face the revocation of their TSA PreCheck eligibility for a minimum duration of five years.
However, for passengers who must travel with firearms, there are proper channels to do so. Firearms are allowed in checked baggage, provided they are unloaded, securely packed away from ammunition in a locked hardback case, and declared upfront at the airline check-in counter. Since firearm possession laws differ across states and localities, travelers must familiarize themselves with the regulations of their departure and arrival destinations.
To ensure travelers are well-informed, the TSA provides comprehensive details on its website regarding the correct protocol for traveling with firearms. Additionally, it’s advisable for passengers to liaise with their respective airlines, as they might have specific requirements for carrying firearms and ammunition.