Ironically, I’m writing this at 39,000 feet.
A Southwest Airlines co-pilot was arrested Monday after security at Albany International Airport found a .380-caliber gun during a routine screening of the man’s carry-on.
New Orleans resident Erick Gibson, 55, on Monday was charged with misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon after a TSA officer operating the X-ray machine at the Albany airport’s security checkpoint spotted the .380-caliber handgun in the pilot’s bag, according to Sheriff Craig Apple.
According to a Dallas News report, Gibson’s bag wasn’t screened before his flight from New Orleans to Albany the previous night. Gibson told authorities he forgot the firearm was in his bag.
TSA confirmed Gibson’s firearm was loaded with six bullets.
“This incident highlights the importance of what TSA and its dedicated security officers do each and every day in protecting the flying public,” said Bart R. Johnson, the TSA’s Upstate New York federal security director.
Albany County Sheriff’s deputies confiscated the firearm at the checkpoint and Gibson, an Army veteran who has been with Southwest for nine years, was later released on $200 bail.
Not quite a loaded firearm, but as I was getting ready to head to the airport myself this morning, I turned my purse upside down to empty it of all contents before re-packing it for my trip as I usually do before I travel. Good thing I did, too because a spent shell casing came out… as well as a loaded magazine for my Smith & Wesson M&P. Not that I wouldn’t have caught the latter, but even spent casings make TSA a little punchy, so it’s a good rule of thumb to make sure you’re not carrying any on you inadvertently.
Better to be safe than sorry!