TSA Increases Maximum Firearm Fine

posted on December 22, 2022

On December 16, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced an increase in the maximum fine for firearms detected at its airport screening sites and the “secure” areas behind. Inadvertently attempting to bring one through a TSA checkpoint could result in a civil penalty of $14,950. The news came just prior to the heavy holiday travel season and reminds enthusiasts to double-check everything before heading to the airport—those last-minute oversights are more expensive than ever.

There are no exemptions for traveling citizens to carry their firearm on board an aircraft, even with concealed-carry permits or when departing from an airport in a constitutional-carry state. Specific law-enforcement personnel, and certain airline employees, can bring a firearm on board when specific requirements are met. That option is not available to the general public.

“I applaud the work of our Transportation Security Officers who do an excellent job of preventing firearms from getting into the secure area of airports, and onboard aircraft,” said TSA administrator David Pekoske. “Firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags at the checkpoint and onboard aircraft.”

Enthusiasts can still travel with a firearm in checked luggage, but they must meet all TSA regulations. Included on that list is the requirement that firearm(s) must be unloaded in locked, hard-sided case(s) and comply with local regulations. Check with your specific carrier for additional rules, which vary by company. You must also declare you have an unloaded firearm and/or ammunition in your luggage when at the check-in counter.

In addition to the increased fine, passengers found to have entered a TSA checkpoint with a firearm can also expect enhanced screening, loss of TSA PreCheck eligibility for at least five years and the possibility of arrest if the gun violates state or local law in the airport’s location.


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