A bizarre incident occurred on Monday a co-pilot was arrested carrying a loaded gun. The co-pilot for Southwest Airlines was arrested at Albany International Airport in upstate New York after he allegedly attempted to carry a loaded handgun through security onto his flight to Chicago-Midway Airport.
The first officer is yet to be named. He attempted to carry a .380 caliber handgun containing six bullets through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint. Fortunately, the agents made the discovery in his carry-on bag.
A statement made by the federal agency revealed that the X-ray machine first alerted agents to the metal object. After which they were able to arrest the co-pilot.
The co-pilot was detained while local police were called to the scene. He was arrested on a weapons charge and faces up to a $12,000 charge.
Bart R. Johnson, who is TSA's Upstate New York Federal Security Director made a statement indicating that the incident highlights the importance of what TSA and its dedicated security officers do each and every day in protecting the flying public. Johnson congratulated the TSA for preventing the co-pilot from flying onboard with a gun.
The arrest of the co-pilot caused the flights to Chicago to be delayed by four hours. Each state is charged with the responsibility of determining its own firearms policies for air travel. However, the federal policy also takes into account the states that allow travelers and airline employees to carry a gun. The policy requires that the gun should be unloaded, packed properly and the airline should be informed of the gun.
Travelers who carry firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA of up to $12,000.