SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Federal authorities are cracking down at some Georgia airports on travelers found with guns during security screenings.
U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine, the top federal prosecutor for the Southern District of Georgia, announced people caught with guns in prohibited areas of airports in his district will now face charges — even those with permits to carry a concealed firearm.
The policy change affects airports in Savannah, Augusta and Brunswick, where authorities say security officers intercepted a combined total of 27 guns this year.
People caught with concealed guns at airports without a permit are arrested and turned over to local police. But this is the first time those with firearm permits have faced penalties. Previously, they were allowed to leave the airport and return without their guns.
Now permit holders caught with guns by airport security will be reported to the FBI, which will issue citations charging violators with a federal misdemeanor and ordering them to appear in court, Christine said in a news release. The penalty is $300 plus court costs.
Christine urged holiday travelers to carefully check their bags before heading to the airport during the holiday season.