Officers with the Transportation Security Administration found a loaded gun in a passenger's carry-on bag at a Charleston International Airport checkpoint on Monday.
At approximately 6:30 a.m., officers discovered a loaded 9mm handgun and immediately alerted airport police, who took possession of the bag and cited the passenger on local charges.
While firearms may be transported in checked baggage (provided they are declared to the airline, in a proper carrying case and unloaded), they are prohibited in carry-on bags, TSA officials say.
"Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the checkpoint," said Mark Howell, TSA spokesman. "Our advice is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items."
This is the sixth firearm discovered at a security checkpoint by TSA officers at CHS this year. A total of five firearms were found at CHS checkpoints in 2013.
In addition to potential criminal charges, passengers who bring firearms to a checkpoint face civil penalties from TSA including a fine of up to $7,500.