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Travelers will face thousands of dollars in fines for repeatedly bringing guns to airport security under a proposal House lawmakers will consider this week.
New legislation from Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) would set minimum civil monetary penalties for repeat and “egregious” violations of the prohibition on firearms at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints. TSA has struggled to respond to an increase in incidents in recent years, with nearly 6,000 guns at checkpoints last year, an 83% increase from the previous year.
Watson Coleman’s bill, which the Homeland Security Committee will consider Wednesday, would fine travelers $10,000 if they have repeat violations within five years and their firearm is unloaded. Those with loaded guns or with easily accessible ammunition would have to pay $12,500.
“We need to explore a range of solutions to keep guns off planes and away from TSA checkpoints,” she said during a subcommittee hearing earlier this month. There are already fines for bringing guns to checkpoints, but the maximum is rarely imposed, lawmakers heard at the hearing.
Egregious violations — including trying to knowingly conceal a firearm or carrying a gun that lacks a required serial number, was 3D-printed, or is a type that presents a “greater risk” than usual — would trigger minimum fines of $10,000 or $5,000, respectively.
Violators would become ineligible for the TSA PreCheck expedited screening program. The bill would also require TSA to step up its public information campaign with clear signage and education about the firearm prohibition and minimum fines.
The Homeland Security Committee will also consider a bill (H.R. 6827) authorizing $1.6 billion for TSA to procure CT scanners for carry-on baggage.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen M. Gilmer in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org