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TSA discovers handgun in employee bag at JWA

May 18, 2011

Authorities at John Wayne Airport stopped an American Airlines employee when they found a loaded handgun in his carry-on bag during a security check Monday, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration said.

The airline worker was preparing to board an afternoon flight to Dallas. He told authorities that he owned the Smith & Wesson .38-caliber special, but did not realize that he still had the gun in his bag, said Nico Melendez, a TSA regional spokesman.

An officer confiscated the gun and its ammunition, then allowed the man to proceed to the departure gate. Melendez had no information about the man's job or rank within American Airlines, or whether he was a crew member on the Dallas flight.

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Earlier Monday, another security check revealed a single round of .22-caliber ammunition in the exterior pocket of a passenger's carry-on bag, Melendez said.

The passenger, headed to Seattle on Alaska Airlines, said he did not realize that the bullet was in the bag and that the bag belonged to his 9-year-old son, who had been out shooting with a family member, Melendez said.

All weapons must be declared to an airline and checked in, and guns must be unloaded and properly stored, Melendez said.

— Lauren Williams

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