TSA discovers gun at Mitchell International Airport; Cedarburg man cited

MILWAUKEE -- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) found a firearm in a passenger's carry-on bag at a security screening checkpoint at Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Officials say the Ruger handgun was discovered during an X-ray screening of the passenger's carry-on bag.

The passenger, a Cedarburg man, received a citation for "presenting a weapon at a screening station."

The citation indicates the passenger was set to fly on a United Airlines plane to Newark/Liberty Airport when the handgun was located as the carry-on went through the TSA screening. A TSA employee spotted the handgun on the X-ray machine. It was in between paperwork. The gun was found to have no rounds in the chamber. An un-chambered magazine with six rounds of ammunition was also in the carry-on bag.

Investigators learned the passenger had a valid concealed carry permit. The passenger told investigators "I grabbed the bag from work and forgot to to check it," and he "repeatedly apologized" for the oversight.

TSA officials said this was the ninth firearm found at a Milwaukee checkpoint in 2018. In 2017, TSA at MKE found 15 firearms.

Firearms can only be transported in a checked bag that is declared to the airline at the ticket counter and properly packed in a locked, hard-sided container. Firearm parts, ammunition, and realistic replicas also are not allowed through security checkpoints, but can travel in checked bags. TSA recommends that travelers check with their airline before going to the airport to determine if they have additional rules about transporting firearms in checked bags.

Nationwide, TSA officers found 3,957 firearms in carry-on bags at airport security checkpoints in 2017, a 17 percent increase over 2016. So far in 2018, TSA has found more than 3,500 at airport security checkpoints.

TSA has the authority to levy a civil penalty of up to $13,300 against a passenger who brings a firearm to the checkpoint. The average penalty for a loaded firearm is nearly $4,000, and the average for an unloaded is about half that amount. Any determination about a criminal charge is up to law enforcement. For more information, visit the prohibited items and firearms and ammunition pages at tsa.gov.