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Loaded firearm found in carry-on at Tri-Cities Regional Airport

June 3rd, 2013 1:55 pm by Wes Bunch

Loaded firearm found in carry-on at Tri-Cities Regional Airport

Lee R. Osborne, 61, of Castlewood, Va.

BLOUNTVILLE — A loaded firearm was discovered at a security checkpoint at Tri-Cities Regional Airport Sunday morning, Transportation Safety Administration officials said.

The loaded .357 revolver was discovered in a passenger's carry-on bag, TSA Public Affairs Officer Jon Allen said Monday afternoon.

Lee R. Osborne, 61, of Castlewood, Va.,  was brought to the Sullivan County Jail by airport police Sunday morning. He has been released on a $3,000 bond and he is charged with prohibited possession of a handgun.

Weapons, including guns, are not permitted in carry-on baggage. Passengers found bringing loaded firearms to a checkpoint face a civil penalty between $3,000 to $7,500 and referral for possible criminal charges.

Allen said Sunday's discovery was the first weapon found at TRI in 2013. Two firearms were found in 2012 at checkpoints at TRI, Allen said. 

Last year, a total of 1,549 firearms were discovered nationwide at security checkpoints, according to the TSA. More than $1.8 million in civil penalties were assessed across the U.S. in 2012 as a result of those discoveries.

Allen said airline passengers are allowed to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packed and declared. The firearm must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case and locked and packed away from ammunition.

Because passengers are responsible for the content of their baggage, Allen said they should check bags thoroughly before coming to the airport.

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