COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Transportation Security Administration had a firearm demonstration Tuesday morning at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport to show the public how to properly store a firearm if they want to travel with it through the airport.
Regional Spokesperson for TSA Mark Howell said, “We are seeing a major increase of firearms brought to checkpoints across the United States.”
Howell said there is a right way to travel through an airport with a gun, the public just needs to know about it. He said 2,212 firearms were brought to TSA checkpoints in 2014 in the United States, and in just six months in 2015, 1,600 guns were brought through TSA.
He said most of the time, this is a mistake, and those who tried to bring the firearms through security didn’t have bad intentions, but it is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Last year in SC, three firearms were brought to TSA checkpoints, and this year, it has more than doubled to eight already. On September 14, one was brought to TSA in Columbia, one in Myrtle Beach, and another in Greenville.
Howell is now traveling to demonstrate and spread awareness about how to travel with a firearm the right, and legal way.
He said to visit the TSA website to prepare for traveling with a firearm, and give yourself an extra 30 minutes for check-in. Also, always bring your carrier permit and license with you.
Here are the steps Howell went through at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport demonstration:
- Purchase a high quality hard sided case with inside padding and a lock.
- Completely unload your gun, take the magazine out and make sure there is no amo in the chamber.
- Place the empty firearm in the hard sided case.
- As long as the box can close, you can put more than one unloaded firearm in the box.
- If you’re taking ammunition, bring it separate from the gun secured in the magazine, or secure them in a grid market box. Make sure they are secure and not rolling around.
- Once everything is packed, lock the box and make sure it cannot be pulled open on the sides.
- Bring the secured case directly to the ticket counter where you’ll get a card to fill out information to put in the box with the firearm(s). This will be the only time you open the case before it reaches your destination.
- Ask your airline where to pick up the firearm at your destination and you’re ready to go.
If you have any questions about traveling with your firearm, visit www.TSA.gov.