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Passenger Discharges Firearm at Texas Airport Check-In Counter

HOUSTON, Texas – A man preparing to depart Houston on a Delta Airlines flight discharged a firearm he prepared to put in checked luggage. No one was injured in the incident and airport operations were not interrupted.

The man approached the Delta Airlines ticket-counter at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Terminal A, prepared to check his bag, said IAH spokesman Bill Begley in a phone conversation with Breitbart Texas.  Following TSA procedures, the ticket agent asked the man to open the gun case and demonstrate that the weapon was clear and safe for check-in. During this examination process, the firearm discharged. The gun was still in the case at the time of the discharge and no one was injured.

Houston Police spokesman John Cannon told Breitbart Texas they were called at 2:10 p.m. on Monday and notified that a firearm had been discharged. Officers responded and conducted an investigation. The gun was a .45 caliber handgun that did not belong to a law enforcement officer, Cannon said.

“We detained the suspect and contacted the Harris County District Attorney’s Office,” he explained. “The District Attorney’s Office accepted charges of Deadly Conduct, a Class A misdemeanor.”

Cannon said the suspect, whose name has not yet been released, is being detained at the airport police office and will eventually be transported downtown for processing. The police department expects that formal charges will be filed sometime overnight, Monday night.

The status of whether the suspect is a licensed Concealed Handgun License holder has not yet been revealed. Authorities have also not released the exact type of handgun other than to say it was a .45 caliber.

The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) lists the procedures for checking a firearm in your luggage. That information can be found on the TSA website. It includes the following instructions:

  • All firearms must be declared to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
  • The term firearm includes:*Please see, for instance, United States Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44 for information about firearm definitions.
    • Any weapon (including a starter gun) which will, or is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.
    • The frame or receiver of any such weapon.
    • Any firearm muffler or firearm silencer.
    • Any destructive device.
  • The firearm must be unloaded.
    • As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 – “A loaded firearm means a firearm that has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm.”
  • The firearm must be in a hard-sided container that is locked.   A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be pulled open with little effort cannot be brought aboard the aircraft.
  • If firearms are not properly declared or packaged, TSA will provide the checked bag to law enforcement for resolution with the airline. If the issue is resolved, law enforcement will release the bag to TSA so screening may be completed.
  • TSA must resolve all alarms in checked baggage. If a locked container containing a firearm alarms, TSA will contact the airline, who will make a reasonable attempt to contact the owner and advise the passenger to go to the screening location. If contact is not made, the container will not be placed on the aircraft.
  • If a locked container alarms during screening and is not marked as containing a declared firearm, TSA will cut the lock in order to resolve the alarm.
  • Travelers should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation.
  • Travelers must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
  • Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm.
  • Small arms ammunition, including ammunition not exceeding .75 caliber for a rifle or pistol and shotgun shells of any gauge, may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as it follows the packing guidelines described above.
  • TSA prohibits black powder or percussion caps used with black-powder.
  • Rifle scopes are not prohibited in carry-on bags and do not need to be in the hard-sided, locked checked bag.

Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.

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