TSA finding more guns at Indianapolis airport checkpoints

TSA screeners at Indianapolis International Airport have confiscated a dozen firearms so far this year.
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - More and more airline passengers are showing up at airports across the country with their firearms.

Both TSA and police are paying close attention to the rising number of firearms being found at checkpoints, especially since many of the weapons detected have been loaded with ammo.

TSA workers can’t afford to let down their guards. It turns out that passengers showing up at airports around the country with their firearms is actually on the rise. The Indianapolis International Airport is no exception, if trends stay true to what’s happened so far this year.

Eyewitness News talked by phone with 26-year-old Brandie Brainerd, who was questioned at a checkpoint by Indianapolis TSA workers January 4.

"They asked me if there was anything in my bag I should tell them about and for three seconds, I was trying to think was my laptop, charger or batteries in there is what's causing the issue," said Brainerd.

But the issue was her loaded 9mm Smith & Wesson. Brandie told Eyewitness News that the safety was on her handgun. She also had her carry permit with her as well. Brandie relocated to Dayton, Ohio from Cincinnati to be closer to the man she hopes to marry one day.

TSA just updated its blog with a photo showing firearms detected at checkpoints around the country. Many of the passengers just simply forgot they were packing heat, according to Airport Police Chief William Reardon. He shared with Eyewitness News that in many cases they have the discretion to either issue a summons for the violation or arrest the person in question.

Eyewitness News talked with Brandie about her encounter with police at Indianapolis International Airport.

"There were probably 4-5 police officers and then I did get handcuffed," she said. "They were professional and courteous. They never treated me bad or like a criminal. They were doing their job and they did it well."

In 2017, TSA detected 48 firearms at Indy airport checkpoints. That number dropped slightly in 2018 to 40 firearms. But so far this year, TSA has already spotted a dozen firearms.

Reardon explained to Eyewitness News that when he sees a dozen firearms detected since the start of the new year, he hopes people will educate themselves about traveling with a firearm. Reardon’s officers work side-by-side with TSA workers to help keep the airport as safe as possible.

Brandie is among the 12 people cited or arrested for having a firearm at Indy’s airport this year and has advice to every carrier.

"I would say don't rush. You should make sure that you check everything thoroughly, because this would not have happened if I was not in such a hurry," said Brandie.

Airport police issued Brandie a summons, so she'll go before a judge for possession of a deadly weapon in an airport which is a misdemeanor.

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