TSA Catches Loaded Firearm in Luggage at Santa Barbara Airport

Update by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA) kept a male traveler from bringing a loaded firearm onto an aircraft this morning.

The firearm was discovered during routine X-ray screening of carry-on luggage at the airport’s security checkpoint.

The firearm was discovered around 4:50 a.m. at SBA when a TSA officer spotted the image of a handgun on the X-ray screen. TSA notified officers with the Santa Barbara Airport Police who responded to the security checkpoint and removed the firearm from the X-ray tunnel.

The passenger, who was ticketed for travel to Phoenix Sky Harbor International in Arizona, was escorted out of the security checkpoint by law enforcement officers.

The firearm, a loaded 9 mm Beretta 92FS, was in the man’s carry-on bag, along with a magazine loaded with 14 rounds of ammunition.

This is the first firearm discovered in carry-on luggage at SBA so far this year. In 2022, TSA officers discovered two firearms at SBA at the security checkpoint.

“Today’s firearm discovery illustrates why TSA officers must remain vigilant as they screen one bag, one passenger at a time,” said Anita Minaei, TSA federal security director at SBA .

“Because the discovery of even one firearm in carry-on luggage is one too many, I am asking firearm owners who choose to travel with a gun on a commercial aircraft to take a few minutes to review the policies and procedures for traveling with a firearm,” Minaei said.

TSA officers at SBA discovered the 9 mm Beretta 92FS in carry-on luggage Tuesday morning.

TSA will review the circumstances of the firearm incident and levy a civil penalty against the passenger. The recommended civil penalty for a firearm starts at $2,050 and can go up to the statutory maximum of more than $14,950 per violation. TSA evaluates each incident on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to civil penalties, individuals who violate rules regarding traveling with firearms will have Trusted Traveler status and TSA PreCheck expedited screening benefits revoked for a period of time. The duration of the disqualification will depend upon the seriousness of the offense and if there is a repeated history of violations.

Even if a traveler has a concealed weapons permit, firearms are not permitted in carry-on luggage.

Firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage.

Ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are also prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be checked. Any type of replica firearm is prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.

At the airport during the check-in process, a passenger should go to the airline ticket counter to declare the firearm, ammunition and any firearm parts. Prior to traveling, passengers are encouraged to check gun laws and regulations at their destination to ensure they are in compliance with local and state laws.

TSA also recommends travelers check with their airline prior to their flight to ensure they comply with any airline-specific requirements.

More information on traveling legally with a firearm is available on TSA’s website. For information on how to travel with any type of item, visit TSA’s “Can I Bring” website.

By Blazer

At 4:50am [Tuesday] an individual entered TSA screening at the Santa Barbara airport with a loaded handgun in his carry-on luggage.  Predictably his travel to Phoenix was delayed as he was handed over to law enforcement for additional screening. 

The “I don’t know where I left my gun” excuse kept Robert Blake out of jail in 2001 when his wife was murdered in Studio City but this fellow may not be so lucky and is on the hook for some cash in the form of federal fines.  The weapon, a loaded 9 mm Beretta 92FS, (see what I did there?) was discovered in the carry-on bag along with a magazine containing 14 rounds of ammunition.

A Civil penalty for the offense of carrying a weapon onto a plane, something forbidden since the days of I dream of Jeannie, ranges from $2,050 to $14,950 and is evaluated by TSA on a case by case basis.  Law enforcement will no doubt take a dim view of violating the voter approved 10 round maximum ammo capacity law in California.

TSA spokesperson Lorrie Dankers reported there was no extensive drama in the event, no flights were cancelled, passenger screening was not interrupted and the unidentified man was invited to accompany law enforcement off the premises.

Meanwhile I am expecting a UPS package that the tracking app for the last Six Hours has said “On the Way, Airport Security Delay”.  No estimate available for arrival.


Written by blazer

Blazer is a longtime radio DJ providing morning traffic reports on 92.9 KJEE and writes stories of interest for edhat.

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  1. Throw the book at him! What absolute moron (or potential terrorist) packs a loaded gun in carry on luggage WITH an illegal magazine? This sh*t is what’s wrong with our country. People think it’s “OK” to take loaded guns into the cabins of planes. Well, that or he was a terrorist who’s plans where thwarted.
    Thank you TSA for keeping us safe from idiots, vigilantes and terrorists!

  2. It is so odd that I find myself rooting for TSA, the FBI and such. I know that the Libertarian extremists and other selfish lobbies want to push the boundaries of our law and Constitution to allow such excess. I hope we can hold out against the crazies in the right wing/MAGA movement. Who knew that they would be attacking these law and order institutions and bringing so much pain and suffering and creating such a threat to our democracy.

  3. From the noted pro-gun shills at https://giffords.org/lawcenter/state-laws/large-capacity-magazines-in-california/
    **Note that enforcement of Prop. 63 restrictions on possession of large-capacity magazines has been delayed pending ongoing lawsuits by the NRA’s California affiliate. In November 2021, an en banc panel of the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected legal challenges against all aspects of California’s large capacity magazine law and again affirmed the state’s authority to reduce the lethality of mass shooting attacks by restricting access to large capacity magazines. But that federal appeals court also continued to temporarily stay enforcement of the LCM possession ban pending resolution of the US Supreme Court’s decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen in June 2022. After Bruen, the case challenging California’s large-capacity magazine restrictions was remanded back to the district court level, and litigation is ongoing. To learn more about this case and the Giffords Law Center’s work to defend Proposition 63, visit our Duncan v. Becerra summary page.**

  4. Large capacity magazines are still under appeal in CA so those who owned them before the ban took effect can still keep them. There was also one week in 2019 where it was legal to buy large capacity magazines in CA. CA District Judge Roger Benitez ruled the ban unconstitutional and during the week it took for an emergency stay of this ruling to take effect, Californians reportedly bought/imported 100’s of thousands of high capacity magazines.
    My best guess is there will be a slap on the wrist. Guns are ubiquitous in the USA and people accidentally leave them in backpacks and luggage at airports 20X a day.

  5. The owner of the weapon should certainly know the laws and how to transport the weapon properly/safely on a plane. However, there is something else going on here. Per CA law Civilians cannot have a magazine that carries in excess of 10rds. Therefore, how did the passenger get to this point? Did they fly to California with the weapon as a checked bag or did TSA fail elsewhere? Did they drive? Is this another illegally obtained weapon? Or is the passenger a LEO?

    • You asked a question and that is the answer, whether you like it or not is irrelevant. I wouldn’t expect you to know this but yes, you can buy an automatic weapon built before 1990’s or so (forget exact date) of which their are many, and the permit/fee/tax to do so is thousands of dollars and they’re all registered. Yes you can buy a tank. Missiles, and the explosive shells tanks fire, are not firearms, they are explosives. Facts matter.

    • Like you often do, you’re arguing down a path that’s far outside of your understanding. Tanks are vehicles and can absolutely be bought, check out eBay. AA guns, which you clearly know nothing about, fire explosive shells. These are facts, as was my original answer, again, you not liking it or even thinking otherwise is irrelevant.

    • VOICE – I’ll concede tanks are legal to buy, I had not idea. But you’re missing my point. The 2nd Amendment is a free reign to buy anything you want. THAT is what I’m getting at. CA should be able to regulate within reason what firearms and accessories are legal in its state. The 2nd Amendment is NOT impervious to challenge. Decades of Supreme Court decisions indicate that it’s not as “uninfringeable” as many (gun worshippers) tout.
      Feel free to nitpick and pat yourself on the back over minutia, but it’s true.

    • VOR, yeah, no. Read the Second amendment. “To bear arms.”
      Not muskets, rifles, pistols, etc..
      “Arms” comes from “arma” which literally means tools of war. Your distinctions about rifles and pistols to tanks and shoulder mounted rockets, etc., etc. are totally false.
      If you read the 2nd amendment with no context, then any member of a well regulated militia shall have the right to possess any weapon. Period. That’s what it says.
      Fully automatic weapons, Javelins, poison gas, flame throwers, biological weapons, nuclear weapons, all of it. “Armas”. “Arms”. Tools of war.
      That’s if you read the 2A with zero historical context. But you don’t, do you.

    • Ales, this all goes back to Sac’s question about the high capacity magazines, which the correct answer was the 2A. Your expansion to include flames throwers, poison gas, Javelins, etc. is simply not how the 2A amendment has been interpreted by the judiciary and applied, my personal feelings aside. I always thought the interpretation never put enough weight on the “well regulated militia” portion, which should have allowed the requirement of some formal training at least as rigorous as what it take to get a drivers license. Sacjon, the sophisticated technology is in reference things like the advanced sensors and fire control tech. that allows a Javelin missile to find and hit the target, technology sperate from a firearm or ‘arms’. If you believe the authors of the 2A DIDN’T contemplate future development of weapons than by extension, the 1A wouldn’t apply to the internet, radio, TV, etc. and be limited to the spoken word, newspapers, and books.

    • He literally doesn’t understand his own attempt at logic. He’s saying the founders anticipated technological change and this 1A applies to internet, television, I.e. all technological modes
      Of speech. By that logic, they anticipated all forms of “arms”, I.e., tools of war, and of course he’s right, which is why my owning a dirty bomb is constitutionally PROTECTED.

    • VOR, you and your anti-safety, anti-American crowd always trying to take away our rights. I happen to be a member of a well regulated militia. The 2A means that I am legally allowed to maintain a stock of nerve gas for my and my family’s protection. Period, the end. Stop trying to rewrite the second amendment and our fundamental rights as American citizens!! I will not be a victim!!! Nerve gas will take out any home invader, too bad if it also kills everyone in the neighborhood and my own family!! My freedom my choice!

    • Now, back to the real point that, despite what you maintain about the definition of arms, many consider the 2A to protect their “right” to own any weapon they want, with no restrictions or limitations. That’s simply not true….
      “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose” – District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 at 626 (2008).
      So, back to your original, simplistic comment at 1:28pm today, “shall not be infringed” isn’t a valid (or well thought out) answer to my question as to why the CA law re: large magazines was being held up in court for being “unconstitutional?” Sorry, but as I’ve shown, the right to “bear arms” CAN be “infringed.” Case closed.

    • “technology sperate from a firearm or ‘arms’.” – No, the entire machine, technology included, constitutes “arms.” There is no separation, unless you can cite the case law where you believe that distinction exists.
      / (ɑːmz) /
      pl n weapons collectively” – https://www.dictionary.com/browse/arms
      “The right to bear arms generally refers to a person’s right to possess weapons. ” – https://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment2.html#:~:text=The%20right%20to%20bear%20arms%20generally%20refers%20to%20a%20person's,for%20Congress%20to%20regulate%20guns.
      As much as I disagree with the idea, it’s pretty clear you’re WRONG about missile launchers, etc not being considered “arms.”

    • VOR, you can’t have it both ways buddy.
      If you read the 2A then you know very well what it says, it is crystal clear.
      “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
      Arms also would refer to blade weapons, because in Europe the underclass was often barred from owning swords, etc..
      Arms means weapons and tools of war, period, the end.
      Shall not be infringed has zero wiggle room in the language.
      The fact that the courts have interpreted the 2A in order to limit (infringe) the right of citizens to bear (own, use) certain arms, does not change the original language at all.
      That being the case, because the court has changed the law, the door is gapingly wide open for the courts to limit (infringe upon) civilians’ right to bear all types of weapons to adjust for changing technology, and therefore, under your own logic, the court could easily go back and study what weapons of war existed at the time of the passing of the 2A and limit access to only weapons with those specs and capacities.
      That means, very clearly, absolutely obviously, that the court has the option to only allow people to own single shot firearms, rifles, pistols, cannon, and blades. No semi-automatic weapons, not even revolvers.
      As far as I am concerned, that would be just fine.
      Now go ahead and twist yourself into a pretzel to try and talk your way out of that one, you’ve been intellectually wrecked and you don’t even understand it.

    • VOR, nah, you tried to argue specific weapons and systems as a justification for infringing upon some weapons and not others. You’re wrong.
      You literally are incapable of tracking your own arguments and attempts at logic.
      To boil it down so you can understand it; there is zero wiggle room in the language of the 2A. However, the courts have decided to interpret the 2A to infringe upon and limit to some extent the rights of the citizen to own certain weapons.
      Do we agree on that fact?
      Pretty sure we do.
      That being the case, you you can not argue in any sense against the ability of the court to further limit what weapons citizens can have–they have already done so, they can continue to do so. This means that the courts can in fact ban any weapon they choose, including ones using high capacity magazines, silencers, suppressors, semi-automatic mechanisms, fully automatic mechanisms. You agree the court has interpreted the 2A, you agree the court has the ability to do so.
      Now dispute what I have just said, prove it wrong, try to claim fEEEliNgS

  6. We flew a few weeks ago, and are TSA Pre-Check. Because we were going to be staying at an Airbnb, we packed some breakfast items and snacks for use there, including sealed single serving cups of applesauce. I was very surprised when the TSA folks made me open my carry-on, since all my toiletries were in the ziplock bag. Turned out they were after the applesauce. I was given the choice of eating it all in front of them, or “surrendering” it (their word). I chose to give up my applesauce, since you never know when it might explode mid-flight.

    • At least they gave you the option of eating it. Some time ago we had an apple in our carryon and the TSA person would not let us step aside and eat it. (The restriction was due to agriculture, not fluids.) Apparently if we had pre-sliced the apple it would have been allowed. I do understand they can’t have a lot of people munching away in their limited spaces. But man, we were counting on eating that apple in the plane.

  7. Simple mistake. Happens regularly all across the country thousand of times a year:
    “From a pen gun to a gun hidden in peanut butter, an additional 570 firearms were found at security checkpoints in 2022 compared to 2021, according to the latest data from the national agency. Last year, 6,542 firearms were found in carry-on bags at more than 260 airports.”
    I wish the anti-safety pols and celebs who are protected by armed guards 24/7 would shut up and let us protect ourselves. I will not be a victim or statistic.

  8. BABY -“No one believes that this person purposely put the firearm in a carry-on bag” – Absolutely wrong. How do you know this wasn’t an attempted terrorist act? All kinds of crazy, stupid people and many own guns. Not far fetched at all to think this was on purpose.
    And really…. who accidentally drops a gun and clip into their carry on bag? It is an ABSURDLY long stretch to claim it’s clear that he didn’t mean to put it in his bag. Man…… good thing we have TSA.

  9. “Not far fetched at all to think this was on purpose”, well it’s less far fetched to think it was on accident, knowing that there is TSA and a bag screener at the airport. And it’s a magazine not a clip. ” All kinds of crazy, stupid people and many own guns” really? What is the proportion of crazy/stupid people that own guns vs. crazy/stupid people who don’t own guns and where did you pull that stat from? If you don’t have a stat it must be anecdotal, therefore you must have a lot of crazy/stupid people in your circle to know approximately the percentage of crazy/stupid people you know who own guns or don’t own guns. Facts over feelings….

  10. VOR, you said,
    “If you don’t have a stat it must be anecdotal, therefore you must have a lot of crazy/stupid people in your circle to know approximately the percentage of crazy/stupid people you know who own guns or don’t own guns. Facts over feelings….”
    The above is literally “facts over feelings”. You have no facts, you cite no facts, you are only making insults disguised as assumptions. Also, I love insults, if they are clever, these don’t even rise to that, they are pedestrian.
    “You know a lot of crazy and stupid people”.
    You’re so funny–and I fully expect you to run away from my last post about your ridiculous irrational attempt to defend your nonsense around the 2A.
    Run really fast VOR!! RUN RUN RUN!!

  11. “between 2014 and 2021 there were just over 200 active shooting incidents in areas that allowed firearms” – I call absolute BS. There’s more than 200 shootings a week these days. You can’t seriously sit there and tell us there’s only been just over 200 shootings in 7 years? Again, show us your work.

  12. “Obama had the CDC conduct a study, but the results revealed….” blah blah blah.
    Ok cool, cite it. You don’t need to follow the Bluebook or anything, just a URL is fine. I mean, you don’t know the difference between ‘ and ” so I’m not really holding my breath…..

  13. Where do you think “Sac” comes from? I lived on an alley in the BAD part of Sactown for a while in my youth. I’ve also interned in South Central LA. Guns shots every night both places. Spare us the BS about “privilege” in SB. Not all of us have never lived elsewhere or dealt with some sketchy stuff. You ever had a gun in your back? If not, sit down.

  14. 2:40 and Sacjon have no idea how privleged you sound, most of the US isn’t like Santa Barbara. You should look up the stats on how many crimes are prevented and lives saved by civilians with firearms. Obama had the CDC conduct a study, but the results revealed such significant number of violent crimes prevented, which didn’t fit the desired narrative, it didn’t get much press.

  15. Also, you SHOULD know your source (CPRC) is pretty widely known as pretty unreliable…..
    “Discredited Gun Researcher Out at Justice Department” https://www.thetrace.org/2021/01/john-lott-trump-appointee-leave-justice-department-gun-data/
    “Overall, we rate the Crime Prevention Research Center Right Biased based on strongly advocating for guns and the conservative agenda. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting based on a few failed fact checks.” – https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/crime-prevention-research-center/

  16. Here are some additional wonderful stats for you. Why do you hate young people so much?
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released updated official mortality data that showed 45,222 firearm-related deaths in the United States in 2020 — a new peak.1 Although previous analyses have shown increases in firearm-related mortality in recent years (2015 to 2019), as compared with the relatively stable rates from earlier years (1999 to 2014),2,3 these new data show a sharp 13.5% increase in the crude rate of firearm-related death from 2019 to 2020.1 This change was driven largely by firearm homicides, which saw a 33.4% increase in the crude rate from 2019 to 2020, whereas the crude rate of firearm suicides increased by 1.1%.1 Given that firearm homicides disproportionately affect younger people in the United States,3 these data call for an update to the findings of Cunningham et al. regarding the leading causes of death among U.S. children and adolescents.4

  17. VOICE – Um, nice try, but “Between 2014 and 2021, citizens stopped 104 out of 204 potential or actual mass shootings where we could identify that guns were allowed in the area” (your cited article) does NOT mean the same thing as “between 2014 and 2021 there were just over 200 active shooting incidents in areas that allowed firearms”
    Just because citizens may have stopped 104 out of 204 cases they identified, does not mean there were only 204 mass shootings in gun zones between 2014 and 2021. Surely, you know that.

  18. “between 2014 and 2021 there were just over 200 active shooting incidents in areas that allowed firearms” – I call absolute BS. There’s more than 200 shootings a week these days. You can’t seriously sit there and tell us there’s only been just over 200 shootings in 7 years in areas that allowed guns? Again, show us your work.

  19. Alex, and all of those were committed by criminals and in weighing those stats, you need to also weigh the number of lives saved due to law abiding firearm owners: Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a),
    National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/18319.

  20. My favorite stat: between 2014 and 2021 there were just over 200 active shooting incidents in areas that allowed firearms (i.e. not Gun Free Zones), a little over 100 of them were thwarted by an armed civilian = 51% of the attacks were stopped by civilians legally carrying a firearm. FACTS matter. (feel free to fact check it Sacjon and prove me wrong, I’ll wait here…)

  21. ALEX – excellent point. I followed down the rabbit hole and not sure what he even is trying to convey at this point? Hey VOICE…. what’s your point? We’ve gone through a lot here….
    Arms means everything, including missiles and tanks
    You can buy tanks, but not with GUNS on them
    The 2A CAN be limited
    Some people here HAVE lived in dangerous areas and still don’t need guns
    There’s probably been WAY more than 204 shootings in gun permitted zones
    Anything else?

  22. Bottom line is that TSA identified and removed the gun from the situation. No one hurt or harmed. No one believes that this person purposely put the firearm in a carry-on bag thinking that it would not be discovered. No gun owner wants their tools confiscated, and they certainly want to get on the plane….not get taken away for questioning. In my book, mistake made, lesson learned….next.

  23. Certainly there will be some sort of fine this person will be required to pay, but no one is going to jail. Why anyone would think this is a potential “terrorist” operation is beyond me. Think about it: a person purposely places a firearm and amo in carry-on luggage knowing full well that it will be discovered by TSA. That is what three of you are saying. No one, save the three of you, believe that….but I accept that you belive that , but do not agree with such a far-out preposterous position. Terrorist…..uhhh, No.


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