By Kumasi Aaron – Reporter/Morning Show anchor
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville woman is facing charges in New Jersey after investigators said she packed a stolen gun in her checked bag without letting her airline know and without a license to have the gun in the state.
So far this year, 23 people have been stopped by Transportation Security Administration officials at Jacksonville International Airport for trying to bring a gun through security. Of those, 21 were loaded.
TSA explained that it is never OK to bring a gun in a carry-on bag. Passengers could face a fine as high as $11,000 for trying to get one through security.
Guns can, however, be packed in a checked bag, if the passengers follows TSA guidelines:
- Tell your airline at the counter that you have a gun in your bag.
- Be sure the firearm is unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container.
- Place any ammunition in a box or in the hard-sided case with the firearm.
Louis Joseph and his son flew to Texas to meet up with family for some duck hunting. That’s why they checked not only their luggage, but also their guns.
“It’s a very strict protocol on how to do it,” Joseph said. “Your weapons have to be in a locked case and you sign a claim that it’s unloaded in the case and it has to be checked, and it’s very simple.”
Green Acres Sporting Goods in Jacksonville shared examples of those cases and locks.
“These are for rifles or shotguns. These are real popular because they fulfill all the requirements. They are reinforced bumper, so they are secure. They have the TSA-approved locks, so locks are already installed,” Z Farhat of Green Acres said. “If you have a handgun, you’d want the same kind of deal, just obviously smaller. Something like this would be ideal. Something that’s lockable, hardback metal case for one or two handguns. If you didn’t want to invest a lot in that case, you can go with more of a case like this that’s just a polymer case, but you would have to then supply with locks, TSA-approved locks, so you would have to buy something like this and then go buy a lock. You want to look for the little airplane that says TSA accepted, and that would work.”
TSA said it’s also the passengers’ responsibility to know the gun laws at the other end of their trip.
“While you might be able to leave Jacksonville with that gun checked in your bag properly, if you are going to another country, that is likely going to be a serious issue, and if you’re going even to a different state, such as New York, where you will be arrested,” TSA’s Sari Koshetz said.
It’s extra work, but Joseph said it’s well worth it.
“If it’s something you really want to do that you enjoy doing, it’s worth going the extra mile to do it,” Joseph said.
TSA officials said people often just don’t pay attention to what’s in their bags before they leave home, so they said it’s important to unpack a bag before you repack for an airplane trip.