JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Travelers were startled Friday morning during a code red alert at Jacksonville International Airport, which was triggered when a man was found with a gun in his bag at a security checkpoint, an airport spokesperson said.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, the man was not arrested, but he was detained.
The TSA said three guns have been confiscated at the airport over the past two days. On Friday morning, a spokesperson said, a passenger had a loaded gun with 11 rounds in his bag.
"It is alarming and it goes to show you how good the TSA agents are doing their job and locating the guns," said News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson.
Another gun was found around 6:15 p.m. Thursday night with four rounds, the TSA said. A third loaded gun was confiscated Thursday morning around 9:30 a.m. with seven rounds.
"There’s really no excuse because you should check and you should double check your bag," Jefferson said.
An airport spokesperson said it's protocol for the passenger and the gun to have a background check to ensure the firearm is not stolen. If everything checks out, the gun will be returned, but it has to be removed from the airport.
A passenger could face a civil fine of up to $13,000.
"Everybody knows that you can’t bring a gun," said Linda Rice, a passenger. "There’s been all kinds of incidents in public places with guns and guns just don’t belong at airports."
So far in 2019, the TSA said, 41 guns have been found as people passed through security at the airport. In 2018, 49 guns were discovered.
News4Jax was at the airport earlier this year as TSA agents who work at the airport showed off some of the items found at the airport in 2018. Those items include knives, machetes, as well as knives disguised as guns and even a 15-pound wrench.
"You have to be patient and when something like this happens it creates havoc and anxiety for a lot of folks but it’s for everybody safety," Jefferson said.
The TSA is asking passengers to pay attention to what is in their bags before they get to the airport. If passengers are traveling with a gun, it must be unloaded in a checked bag, and declared to the airline during check-in.