AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - ABIA is among the highest ranked airports in the nation when it comes to the amount of guns seized. The consequences of bringing a firearm in your carry-on luggage can be severe.
TSA released their top 10 airports with the most guns seized last year and Austin ranks number 8.
The year before, Austin didn't even make the list.
93 firearms with 76 being loaded all found over the course of a year at ABIA. “The law is pretty strict and it's a severe law you cannot bring a firearm into the secure portion of an airport it's a 3rd degree felony period full stop,” Rick Cofer, a local attorney whose dealt with these cases.
The TSA released their stats for 2018 and with it a record number of guns discovered in airport carry-on bags across the nation. “If you are caught with a handgun at the airport it's likely that you are going to be arrested and that you'll be charged with a 3rd degree felony punishable for up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000,” said Cofer.
This high number lands Austin in the number 8 spot for the top 10 airports across the nation where guns were found. “Previously Austin hadn't even ranked in the top 10,” said Cofer.
Cofer is no stranger in dealing with cases like this. Generally, he said there was never any bad intentions. “Typically, it's business travelers, typically it's men, typically it's folks that are hunters. They're not being negligent they just routinely carry firearms and literally forgot that they had a gun in their carry on it happens,” said Cofer.
If you do plan to travel with a gun it must go through checked luggage.
It must be unloaded, it must be kept in a locked hard-sided container (it's best to call the airline beforehand as they have different regulations on what they want), you can't carry it on and you'll have to declare it every time you plan to travel.
Parts of firearms must also travel in checked baggage.
If you did accidentally bring a firearm in your carry on, Cofer said those with a clean record probably won’t get the book thrown at them. “They have to forfeit the weapon, pay a fine to TSA and agree not to violate any law for a certain period of time generally that results in a dismissal, not always,” said Cofer.
Other Texas airports on this list include: the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport which placed 2nd, the George Bush Intercontinental airport placed 6th and the Dallas Love Field airport placed 9th.