Southwest Pilot Arrested After Loaded Gun Found in Bag

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
November 15, 2017 Updated: November 15, 2017

A Southwest Airlines pilot has been arrested at St. Louis Lambert International Airport after a loaded gun was found in his carry-on luggage, according to an airport statement on Nov. 15.

The 51-year-old pilot was scheduled to fly on flight 1106 to Las Vegas and was arrested by police at Terminal 2 checkpoint for “unlawful use of a weapon” after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials found the 9mm pistol, according to the statement.

The pilot did not carry a permit or any authorization to carry a firearm.

TSA Spokesperson Mark Howell said the pistol was loaded with seven rounds of ammunition when it was discovered in the Southwest employee’s carry-on bag, reported ABC news.

“We are aware of a situation involving a Southwest Pilot at St. Louis Airport. We are currently working alongside the appropriate authorities to gather more information. We have no further information to share at this time,” Southwest Airlines said in a statement on Nov. 15.

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A Southwest Airlines plane is seen at the gate on the tarmac of McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 15, 2017. (RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)

It is unclear whether the pilot will face any charges.

So far, 46 firearms have been found at security checkpoints by TSA officers in 2017, and 31 firearms in 2016 were found at St Louis airport checkpoints, according to Howell.

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A sign directs travelers to a security checkpoint staffed by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois, on June 2, 2015. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

According to a TSA fact sheet, firearms are detected at airport security checkpoints on a daily basis.

“Travelers may only transport ammunition and unloaded firearms in a locked, hard-sided container as checked baggage and are prohibited in carry-on baggage,” the fact sheet reads.

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Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.