NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — With the help of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, TSA agents at the Louis Armstrong International Airport were able to intercept an assault rifle making its way through airport security.

On Valentines Day Tuesday ( Feb. 14), a 52-year-old Jefferson man was headed to board a flight to Houston when agents found an assault rifle and 163 rounds of ammunition in his carry-on bag.

The weapon was identified as a Palmetto PA-15 Multi AR firearm already loaded with 30 rounds of .300 caliber ammunition along with five additional loaded magazines. The man now faces a civil penalty from the TSA for a maximum of $15,000.

Agents say the incident was the second that day after a Glock was also intercepted. This brings the total amount of firearms stopped by TSA in 2023 to 14 with 13 of them being loaded.

Across the state, violators toting the weapons range in age from mid-20s to mid-60s. In New Orleans they range from 24-52 years old, a 64-year-old male was stopped at Shreveport Regional Airport in February, and a 66-year-old male at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport in January.

Both guns were loaded.

“Threat detection is our mission and our dedicated workforce is protecting the traveling public every day,” said TSA Federal Security Director Arden Hudson. “Passengers need to focus on what is inside their carry-ons before entering our checkpoint. The introduction of a loaded weapon poses an unnecessary risk to both the traveling public and our employees.”

The 119 guns intercepted at MSY in 2021 put the airport on the top 10 list in the country for “passengers violating federal law by bringing a firearm to the security checkpoint”. In 2022, 90 guns were intercepted.

In other cities across Louisiana in 2022:

  • 12 guns intercepted at Shreveport Regional Airport
  • 8 intercepted at Lafayette Regional Airpor
  • 3 each intercepted at Monroe Regional Airport and Alexandria International Airport
  • 2 intercepted at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airpor
  • 1 intercepted at Lake Charles Regional Airport

TSA agents advise passengers who are traveling with weapons to pack them in their checked bags, properly secured and declared, and also check gun laws for every place of travel.

“Guns may not be legal to transport even in checked baggage in some jurisdictions,” TSA Federal Security Director Arden Hudson.

Tips for getting through TSA checkpoint as quickly and efficiently as possible:

  • Tip 1: No guns in carry-ons.
  • Tip 2: Leave all prohibited items at home.
  • Tip 4: Help is available.
  • Tip 5: Enroll now in TSA PreCheck.

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