Airport security agents stopped a traveler at Portland International Jetport in Portland, Maine, last week, as the man attempted to pass through the checkpoint with a homemade gun and hatchet packed into his carry-on luggage, the Transportation Security Administration said.
Recounting the incident in a tweet shared to the official TSA New England account, spokesperson Dan Velez said local law enforcement officers were ultimately called to the scene.
“Yesterday @portlandjetport, @TSA officers detected this homemade firearm in a man’s carry-on bag,” Velez wrote on Twitter. “They also found a hatchet in the bag.”
The Portland Police Department was contacted following the agents’ discovery, and officers dispatched to the airport confiscated the homemade weapon, the TSA spokesperson said, noting that the recent find marked the third “firearm detection” at Portland International Jetport this year.
TSA agents also flagged other weapons that airline passengers attempted to improperly transport at Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport recently.
“A couple of nice carry-on bag detections by our @TSA officers @Bradley_Airport yesterday,” Velez wrote in another message shared to Twitter on Friday. “This double-edged knife and replica gun lighter are items that should be properly packed in your checked bag.”
Traveling with firearms is legal in the U.S., as long as people looking to fly with guns and ammunition abide by TSA guidelines for proper transport. Anyone who wishes to board a plane with weapons must first unload them before packing the items in hard-sided containers and placing them in their checked bags. Weapons must be declared at the airport ticket counter when travelers arrive at airports for their flights.
Airport security agents confiscated a record-high number of weapons at checkpoints across the U.S. in 2022, the TSAon Friday. According to the agency, its officers confiscated 6,301 firearms — 88% of which were loaded — from passengers since the beginning of this year, and expects that another 500 will be confiscated before 2023. The number of weapons confiscated so far represents more than a 10% increase from the 5,972 firearms seized last year.