Police: Gun Found in Man’s Bag at Lebanon Airport
West Lebanon — A Florida man was found with a firearm and ammunition at the Lebanon Municipal Airport on Saturday, but was ultimately allowed to board his scheduled flight to Boston.
Lebanon Interim Police Chief Gary Smith declined to release the man’s name but said he was in his late 60s and had driven to the Upper Valley from Williston, Fla. Smith said the man explained that he had forgotten he had the gun, as well as a clip of ammunition, in his bag.
After making sure the gun was legal and confirming that the man had a concealed weapon permit in Florida, Smith said Lebanon police were satisfied that he had not broken any laws.
“The (Transportation Security Administration) was satisfied, everybody was satisfied ... so everything was clear,” Smith said.
TSA spokesperson Ann Davis said that the firearm was discovered in the man’s carry-on bag by a TSA agent who was staffing the x-ray machine at the airport. She said the man was boarding a Cape Air flight to Boston, with his ultimate destination in Florida.
Davis said that local law enforcement officials typically handle cases when agents discover guns due to the variance of firearm laws from state to state. She emphasized that there is a proper way to travel with firearms, which is made clear on the administration’s website, “but unfortunately passengers are continuing to bring firearms to security checkpoints, sometimes loaded.”
According to the TSA, travelers can be fined up to $11,000 if they are caught with prohibited items at the airport. The TSA assessed more than $1.8 million in civil penalties for firearms discovered in passenger carry-on bags in 2012.
Airport Manager Rick Dyment said that he has heard of TSA agents finding prohibited creams and gels, and even knives, in passenger luggage, but he couldn’t think of another time when a firearm was discovered at the Lebanon airport.
“The people here did exactly what they’re supposed to do and stopped it at the airport,” Dyment said. “I’m really happy ... that they found it and dealt with it appropriately.”
Smith said that the man was not well-known in the Lebanon community, but he would have been checked out even if he was a known quantity.
“Everything proved he was legit,” Smith said, “So he was released.”
Ben Conarck can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3213.