A Transportation Security Administration officer at the Santa Barbara Airport discovered a male traveler bringing a loaded firearm onto an aircraft Tuesday morning.
The firearm was discovered during a regular X-ray screening of carry-on luggage at the airport’s security checkpoint.
The firearm was found when a TSA officer spotted the image of a handgun on the X-ray screen. TSA notified officers with the Santa Barbara Airport Police, who responded to the security checkpoint and removed the firearm.
The passenger, who was traveling to Phoenix, was escorted out of the security checkpoint by law enforcement. TSA didn’t release the passenger’s name.
The firearm was a loaded 9 mm Beretta 92FS that was accompanied by a magazine loaded with 14 rounds of ammunition.
“I cannot speak to the motives of the traveler,” said Lorie Dankers of TSA Public Affairs.
“What I do know is that firearms have never been allowed in the cabin of the aircraft, so why someone would bring one in 2023 is unexplainable,” Ms. Dankers told the News-Press. “The first rule of firearm safety is to know where your firearm is at all times.”
This is the first firearm discovered in carry-on luggage at SBA so far this year. In 2022, TSA officers discovered two firearms at the security checkpoint.
“Because the discovery of even one firearm in carry-on luggage is one too many, I am asking firearm owners who choose to travel with a gun on a commercial aircraft to take a few minutes to review the policies and procedures for traveling with a firearm,” said Anita Minaei, the TSA federal security director at SBA.
TSA will review the circumstances of the firearm incident and impose a civil penalty against the passenger.
TSA evaluates each incident on a case-by-case basis.