COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Transportation Security Administration said there has been a rise in people not packing their firearms properly when flying.
Mark Howell, a TSA Regional Spokesperson, says it’s a problem they’re working to solve.
"It's a problem that continues to trend up," said Howell. "We've allowed firearms in checked baggage since we've been around. We don't have a problem with you taking it with you when you travel as long as it’s packed safely, unloaded and declared to the airline, and not brought to the checkpoint. We obviously don’t want them accessible on the flight."
Last year, there was a record of 4,239 firearms found at checkpoint in U.S. airports. That’s seven percent more than in 2017. The TSA says the country is on track to surpass the record this year.
In 2018, they were eight firearms discovered at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport that weren’t properly stored. This year there have already been eight at Columbia Metro.
"You've got more passengers traveling than ever before and you've got more people carrying firearms than ever before. Simple equation is more guns plus more travelers is going to be more guns at airports," explained Howell
The TSA official says if the airport discovers you didn’t pack your firearms correctly at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, law enforcement will confiscate it.
You’ll also receive a civil penalty from TSA that could range from $2,400 to $2,500 for unloaded firearm $3,000 to $4,000 for a loaded gun. The maximum penalty is $13,333.
According to TSA, there are simple steps you can follow to make sure your firearm is packed legally before catching a flight.
"Make sure you have a hard sided case with padding, make sure that the firearms that you are taking are completely unloaded with ammunition stored separately, make sure that the box is able to be locked, and make sure that you declare it to the airline that you're flying with," said Howell.
For more information on packing your firearm, found out more from the TSA website.