Airport police took a gun from a passenger after security agents found the loaded pistol during screening at a checkpoint on Monday.
Transportation Security Administration officials said the 9 mm Ruger was loaded with five bullets when it was detected during X-ray screening at Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, also known as ICT. Airport police interviewed the passenger and took possession of the weapon.
Carrie Harmon, a TSA spokesperson, said the gun was the third firearm discovered at the Wichita airport this year.
The number of guns found at airport security checkpoints last year was record-breaking, Harmon said in a news release. The TSA found 4,239 guns, or almost 12 per day, at checkpoints around the country in 2018. That was a 7 percent increase from 2017.
Four guns were found at ICT in 2017. But in the first seven months of 2018, that number rose to 12. In July, the TSA found a loaded .22 caliber revolver at the Wichita checkpoint.
In September, TSA agents at ICT found grenades in two different bags on the same day. One was in a carry-on, and the other in a checked bag. Both were found to be inert.
In Monday’s case, Harmon said criminal charges are determined by local law enforcement. But the TSA can also assess a civil penalty of up to $13,333 per violation.
“Firearms can only be transported in a checked bag, if declared to the airline at the ticket counter and properly packed in a locked, hard-sided container,” Harmon said. “Firearm parts, ammunition, and realistic replicas also are not allowed through security checkpoints, but can travel in checked bags.”