A passenger was caught last week attempting to board a flight in Maine with a hatchet and a homemade gun in his carry-on bag, according to TSA.
TSA officers at the Portland International Jetport in Portland, Maine, discovered the items on Tuesday. Portland Police responded and confiscated the firearm, New England TSA spokesman Daniel Velez said.
Velez told MassLive that the passenger was a 50-year-old man headed to Philadelphia. He was allowed to keep the hatchet but had to move it to his checked luggage.
Velez said this was the third firearm detection at the Portland International Jetport in Portland this year.
The discovery came just days ahead of an announcement from TSA that it has recorded a record number of firearms found at airport security checkpoints nationwide this year.
As of Dec. 16, a TSA press release states, the agency has prevented 6,301 firearms from getting past security checkpoints this year – adding that more than 88% of them were loaded. That’s up from 5,972 firearms detected at security checkpoints last year.
TSA is also increasing the maximum civil penalty for a firearms violation to $14,950, which is determined on a case-by-case basis “based on the circumstances in each case.”