A Southwest Airlines pilot was arrested at St. Louis Lambert International Airport Wednesday morning for having a loaded gun in a carry-on bag.
The pilot is a 51-year-old first officer who was scheduled to fly a route to Las Vegas, a Southwest spokesperson said. That flight was delayed 45 minutes by the ordeal.
The TSA said the 9 mm pistol had seven rounds of ammunition inside.
The agency says they’re seeing a rise in people bringing guns to airports nationwide and in St. Louis. This was the 46th gun found on a passenger at Lambert this year. That compares to 31 in all of last year.
Nationally, 3,733 guns have been recovered from passengers. That compares to 3,391 last year.
Passengers can travel with guns, but they have to be unloaded, locked in a hard-sided container in checked luggage, and you have to declare it with the airline to make sure they know about it.
Statement from St. Louis Lambert International Airport:
St. Louis Lambert International Airport police arrested a 51 year old airline pilot Wednesday morning for unlawful use of a weapon after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers discovered a loaded 9mm pistol in his carry-on luggage. The pilot, a First Officer who works for Southwest Airlines, was detained shortly before 5 a.m. in the Terminal 2 checkpoint prior to him boarding his aircraft, Southwest flight, #1106 from St. Louis to Las Vegas.
The suspect did not have any conceal and carry permit or any other authorization to carry a firearm. Charges are pending and will be handled through St. Louis County.
Charges are pending against the pilot and will be handled through St. Louis County.