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Gun confiscations increase at Harrisburg International Airport; TSA officials say they have solutions

TSA officials held a press conference on Tuesday to discuss their plan to combat this trend and teach passengers how to safely travel with their firearms.

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) saw an increase of guns arrive at their checkpoints at Harrisburg International Airport (HIA) this year. 

On Tuesday, TSA officials hosted a press conference at the airport to discuss their plan to combat this trend. The officials also hope to educate passengers about the safe and correct method of traveling with a firearm. 

Officials said "carrying-on" a firearm has been prohibited for decades. They reminded passengers about penalties that could occur if they decide to show up at their checkpoints without properly stowing their guns.

These penalties include the individual receiving a citation or being arrested by police. This will be followed by the passenger receiving a financial civil penalty—running into the thousands of dollars—from the TSA. If the individual is a member of the TSA PreCheck program, their membership will be dissolved.

Officials said the increase in gun confiscations is worrisome and has occurred too often. 

Lisa Farbstein, a spokesperson for the TSA, said that she has grown tired of reminding passengers of a rule that was printed in the books long before her agency even existed.

"This is nothing new; this is not a new policy no one told [passengers] about," said Farbstein. "We do want to remind people that if they want to travel with their firearm, that's okay. We're happy to take care of it and screen it in that fashion.”

Farbstein said traveling with a firearm properly is an easy process, too.

If passengers want to travel with their firearm, it must be unloaded and packed in a hard-sided case and brought to the check-in counter when they arrive at the airport. TSA officials will then store the firearm with the rest of the checked baggage and cargo in the belly of the airplane. 

Farbstein said that once the individual arrives at their destination, their firearm will be returned to their possession. 

Multiple administrators at HIA hosted Tuesday's 10 a.m. press conference. 

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