A woman from Androscoggin County was detained on Wednesday after federal aviation security officials say she brought a loaded gun into Portland International Jetport.
The woman, who was from Minot, had a loaded 9 mm handgun tucked into an outer pocket of her purse as she attempted to pass through a checkpoint at the Portland airport, according to Lisa Farbstein, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration.
The gun was spotted when the woman’s purse went through the checkpoint X-ray machine, and TSA officers alerted airport police, who confiscated the gun and detained the woman for questioning, Farbstein said.
The woman told authorities she forgot she had her loaded gun with her, Farbstein said.
Farbstein said it was the first gun TSA officers have detected at Portland International Jetport this year.
In 2018, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints across the country, up from 3,957 the year before, according to the TSA. Nearly 90 percent of those were loaded, while a third had a bullet in the chamber.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked and packed separately from ammunition. Anyone who brings an undeclared firearm through a checkpoint can face criminal charges and civil penalties up to $13,333, according to the TSA. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100.
No charges have been filed in this case yet.