GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees at Austin Straubel International Airport got a surprise last week when they discovered a firearm during a screening.

According to Jessica Mayle, the Regional Spokesperson for TSA, the incident occurred on Wednesday, September 27. The firearm was reportedly unloaded, and the Brown County Sheriff’s Office was contacted immediately.

This is the second firearm detected at Austin Straubel International this year. In 2022, there were zero firearms seized. The increase in firearms intercepted is a national trend, as over 1,800 were taken from airport checkpoints during the third quarter of 2023.

“Passengers may travel with a firearm, but it must be in their checked baggage,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “Firearms are only permitted in checked baggage, unloaded in a locked hard-sided case, and must be declared to the airline when checking the bag at the ticket counter. Firearms are prohibited at security checkpoints, in the secure area of an airport or in the passenger cabin of an aircraft even if a passenger has a concealed carry permit or is in a constitutional carry jurisdiction.” 

If a passenger brings a firearm to the TSA checkpoint, the TSO will contact local law enforcement to unload and take possession of the firearm safely.

The law enforcement officer may also arrest or cite the passenger, depending on local law. TSA may impose a civil penalty of up to almost $15,000, and passengers who present with a firearm at a security checkpoint will lose TSA PreCheck eligibility for five years. 

At the current rate, the agency will surpass last year’s record of 6,542 firearms prevented from getting onboard aircraft.