U.S. pilot caught with gun pre-flight

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Southwest Airlines pilot Erik Gibson, 55, was arrested on a weapons charge on Monday morning in New York after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers found a loaded .380 caliber handgun in his carry-on bag during a routine screening.

Gibson was preparing to pilot a flight from Albany International Airport to Tampa, Florida, when he said he forgot that he had the gun in his bag, according to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple. He was charged with misdemeanor weapon possession and released on $200 bail.

Gibson, who is from Louisiana, had flown to Albany from New Orleans on Sunday but had passed through a crew line that didn’t have security screening.

This is reported to be the second gun found by Albany baggage screeners in four weeks; TSA officers found a loaded .45 caliber handgun in a passenger’s carry-on bag in March. Last year, two guns were discovered in carry-on bags.

According to TSA data from 2016, 3,391 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags in airports across the country and 83 percent of those guns were loaded.

“As a reminder, firearms, firearm parts, and ammunition are not permitted in carry-on bags, but can be transported in checked bags if they are unloaded, properly packed and declared to the airline,” TSA stated on Monday in a news release. “Individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA of up to $12,000.”

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