Transportation Security Administration found a loaded gun in a carry-on bag at Mobile Regional Airport on Thursday.
Airport officials discovered the loaded Smith and Wesson .380 caliber handgun in a passenger's bag just around 12:30 p.m.
The TSA immediately alerted police, who recovered the weapon and escorted the passenger out of the checkpoint area where the firearm was found.
According to the TSA, firearms are allowed in checked luggage, if declared to the airline and transported in the appropriate caring case. Firearms also must be unloaded.
This is the first firearm discovered at the Mobile Regional Airport security checkpoint in 2016, TSA says. Five guns were found in 2015.
Two of the guns were discovered Saturday; two others Monday. All were in separate carry-on bags.
Four loaded guns were found in Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in separate incidents between Saturday and Monday.
In addition to criminal charges, TSA may impose up to $11,000 fines for potential passengers who are caught a checkpoints with prohibited items.
A table on the TSA website outlines the penalties for weapons-related offenses. A loaded firearm or unloaded firearm with accessible ammunition in a carry-on item is punishable with a criminal referral and fines from $3,000 to $7,500.
TSA would like to remind passengers that it is important for them to thoroughly search their bags for any potential dangerous weapons or prohibited items before departing for the airport. Safety is the first concern of the TSA, and having these items in bags that are traveling with you on the aircraft is dangerous to other travelers and can be easily mistaken as an intentional attempt to bring a prohibited item onto an aircraft.
"Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the checkpoint," said Mark Howell, TSA Regional Spokesperson. "Our advice is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items."
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