Kentucky travelers seem prone to try to pack loaded guns into carry-on bags and onto planes at a West Virginia airport.
A Floyd County woman was cited Monday after trying to bring a loaded .22-caliber gun onto a plane at Tri-State Airport near Huntington and the Kentucky state line, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
That follows a Feb. 3 case in which a Kentucky woman was caught trying to take a loaded .38-caliber handgun on a plane at the same airport. In May 2015, a Kentucky man was cited for trying to pass through security at Tri-State with a loaded .38-caliber semi-automatic gun inside a carry-on bag.
In Monday’s case, a TSA agent found the handgun in one of the woman’s carry-on bags, a backpack, at an airport security checkpoint.
TSA officers contacted airport police; police confiscated the gun and cited the Martin woman on a state weapons charge.
The woman said she forgot that she had the gun with her, according to the TSA. The woman’s name wasn’t released.
In the February case, the Ashland woman had a gun with six bullets, including one in the chamber, according to TSA. In addition, she carried an extra magazine with six bullets. A TSA officer at an X-ray machine detected the gun in her carry-on bag, where she also had the magazine. The gun was confiscated by airport police, but it was unclear whether the woman was cited.
On May 9, 2015, a Boyd County man said he didn’t know that his carry-on bag contained a .38-caliber loaded handgun and claimed that a relative put the gun in his bag, according to the TSA. The Catlettsburg man was trying to fly to Charlotte, N.C. The gun, loaded with six bullets, was confiscated, and he was cited on weapons charges.
Strict rules require passengers to tell airline personnel if they are transporting a firearm, and unloaded firearms have to be placed in locked, hard-shell containers inside checked baggage. Firearm parts also are banned from carry-on baggage.
For all the activity at the Huntington airport, it’s not among the top 10 airports for TSA firearm finds. The TSA said 3,391 guns, most of them loaded, were discovered in carry-on bags in 2016. The total was 28 percent higher than in 2015, and security critics claim that more go undetected.
By far, Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston’s George Bush and Phoenix Sky Harbor airports had the most firearm discoveries, varying from 101 to 198, according to the TSA’s most recent stats. Other airports in the top 10 included Denver; Orlando; Nashville; Tampa; Austin-Bergstrom, Texas; and Salt Lake City.