SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - As frequent fliers come through the checkpoints at the Tri-Cities Regional Airport, eyes are always watching for potentially dangerous items inside their luggage. "My son checked to see what he could take and what he can't," said Matilda Dickerson.
"You just have to be aware of what restrictions there are, try to stay current," said Roy Harmon.
Harmon flies two to three times a month. He says he checks the regulations regularly online to make sure he doesn't bring something he isn't supposed to. "You know not to take guns and knives and big bottles of shampoo, that sort of thing," he said.
Transportation Security Administration officials tell us a scan caught something unusual while agents were making their routine checks over the weekend. "It was during X-ray screening on Sunday morning that officers discovered a loaded revolver in a passenger's carry-on bag," said airport official Jon Allen.
We don't know a lot about the individual, except that he's 61-year-old Lee Osborne and he's been arrested and charged with possession of a handgun prohibited. Click here to learn more about his arrest.
Allen says this arrest isn't unusual. "It's something that nationally we're seeing happen on an increasing basis," said Allen. We learned last year over 1,500 firearms were discovered at TSA checkpoints nationwide, including two at Tri-Cities Regional.
Allen told us getting caught with a firearm would result in criminal charges and a civil penalty from TSA. "In the instance of a loaded gun, that penalty could range from $3,000 to $7,500," said Allen.
Allen says It's a fine that could easily be avoided and that regardless if your intentions are good or bad, if it's your bag, it's your responsibility. "You're responsible for the contents of it. It's a good idea to look through it and make sure you know what's inside that bag and that you don't have any prohibited items," said Allen.
We learned there are ways to transport your firearm if you choose to fly. You can place it in a locked, hard-sided container and it must be checked baggage. You also have to declare it to the airline during check-in.
Jon Allen told us if you are ever uncertain about what you're bringing onto a plane, you can download an app called 'Can I Bring' which allows you to type in the item and then lets you know if it is allowed.
If you'd like to know more about the regulations on firearms, click here for more information.
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