Transportation Security Administration officers in New Orleans stopped a Louisiana man from entering the secured area of the airport with a loaded AR-15-style rifle. The passenger also had 163 rounds of ammunition in his carry-on bag as he attempted to pass through the security checkpoint.
A 52-year-old man from Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, attempted to enter the secured area of the New Orleans Airport on February 14, according to a statement from the TSA. Officers detected a rifle and multiple magazines during the screening of the man’s carry-on bag, officials reported.
.@TSA officers at @FlyNewOrleans STOPPED a passenger carrying THIS assault rifle and 163 rounds of ammunition into the checkpoint. Keeping you safe is our mission! Read more about this interception here: https://t.co/3ehdy7xGTl pic.twitter.com/9P1gLVREdv
— TSA_Gulf (@TSA_Gulf) February 17, 2023
A Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy assigned to the airport assisted the TSA officers in securing the loaded Palmetto PA-15 Multi AR rifle. Officials report the rifle was loaded with 30 rounds of .300 caliber ammunition. They also found five loaded magazines in the bag.
Photos released by the TSA also show a folding knife allegedly found among the seized weapons.
Officials detained the man and seized the bag with the rifle and ammunition. He now faces a civil penalty that could be as high as $15,000.
The man allegedly had a ticket to fly from New Orleans to Houston, the report states.
Officials say the discovery and seizure of firearms at the New Orleans Airport is not unusual. In fact, this was the second firearm found by TSA officers that day. The officers also seized a Glock pistol earlier in the day.
The report states this is rifle above is the 14th firearm found since January 1 –13 or these were loaded at the time of the discovery.
WFAA ABC8 reported the top 10 airports for firearm seizures in 2022. The list includes three Texas airports. The top-10 list includes:
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: 448
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: 385
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston: 298
- Nashville International Airport: 213
- Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix: 196
- Orlando International Airport: 162
- Denver International Airport: 156
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport: 150
- Fort Lauderdale Airport 134
- Tampa International Airport: 131
Houston Hobby Airport also reported the seizure of 125 guns but did not make the top-10 list. The New Orleans Airport made the list in 2021 with the seizure of 119 guns.
“If you are going to travel with your gun it must be in your checked bag, but be sure you know exactly what the gun laws are on each side of your trip,” TSA Federal Security Director Arden Hudson said in the written statement. Hudson leads TSA’s operations across the State of Louisiana. “Guns may not be legal to transport even in checked baggage in some jurisdictions.”
“Passengers need to focus on what is inside their carry-ons before entering our checkpoint,” Hudson added. “The introduction of a loaded weapon poses an unnecessary risk to both the traveling public and our employees.”