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LOADED FIREARM FOUND AT CHATTANOOGA AIRPORT EARLY THIS MORNING

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Officers from the Transportation Security Administration discovered a loaded Ruger 9mm semi-automatic pistol inside a passenger’s carry-on luggage at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport about 5:30 this morning.

The TSA contacted Chattanooga police, who took possession of the bag and escorted the passenger outside the checkpoint area.

While firearms may be transported in checked baggage (they must be unloaded, in a proper carrying case and declared to the airline), they are prohibited from carry-on baggage.

TSA reminds passengers to thoroughly search their luggage for any weapons or potential prohibited items before departing for the airport.

TSA regional spokesman Mark Howell said passengers are responsible for the contents of any bags they bring to the checkpoint, adding, “Our advice is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.”

This is the third firearm detected by TSA officers at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport security checkpoint this year. Nine were found there last year.

In addition to potential criminal charges, passengers caught bringing firearms to a checkpoint face civil penalties imposed by the TSA.

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