TSA Bumps Fines to $15K for Guns at Airports

After tallying an all-time high of about 6,600 firearms in carry-on bags at airport security checkpoints this year, TSA is raising the maximum civil penalty for a firearms violation to $14,950.
Michael Crites

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Airport Security Line at Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport

Just in time to drop bummers on holiday travelers, the Transportation Security Administration announced two things last week: that it had tallied an all-time high of about 6,600 firearms found in carry-on bags at airport security checkpoints thus far in the year, and that it was raising the maximum civil penalty for a firearms violation to $14,950.

Now, that’s the maximum as it is applied to loaded firearms, and some who accidentally violate TSA’s guidelines don’t have to pay anything other than some public embarrassment, meaning the minimum is, well, nothing.

Unloaded firearms are still good for an oddly specific maximum fine of $5,370.

However, besides the fine, there is also the possibility of a criminal referral for guns found at checkpoints or past the “sterile” area, depending on the case.

In the end, though, passengers who follow the agency’s sometimes confusing guidance for firearms in checked baggage and declare them to their airline at check-in are still good to go…in most cases.

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