ST. LOUIS - A Southwest Airlines pilot arrested at St. Louis Lambert International Airport for bringing a loaded gun in his carry-on bag will not be criminally charged.
The 51-year-old pilot was arrested Wednesday morning. He was scheduled to fly a route to Las Vegas, according to a Southwest spokesperson. The flight was delayed for 45 minutes.
TSA said the pilot had a 9mm pistol with seven rounds of ammunition inside.
According to the St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office, they cannot prove the pilot knowingly brought the firearm into the secure area. He is still subject to FAA regulations.
TSA says they’re seeing a rise in people bringing guns to airports nationwide and in St. Louis. This was the 46th gun found on a passenger at Lambert this year. In 2016, 31 guns were found.
Nationally, 3,733 guns have been recovered from passengers. In 2016, 3,391 were recovered.
Passengers can travel with guns, but they have to be unloaded, locked in a hard-sided container in checked luggage, and you have to declare it with the airline to make sure they know about it.
Statement from St. Louis Lambert International Airport:
St. Louis Lambert International Airport police arrested a 51 year old airline pilot Wednesday morning for unlawful use of a weapon after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers discovered a loaded 9mm pistol in his carry-on luggage. The pilot, a First Officer who works for Southwest Airlines, was detained shortly before 5 a.m. in the Terminal 2 checkpoint prior to him boarding his aircraft, Southwest flight, #1106 from St. Louis to Las Vegas.
The suspect did not have any conceal and carry permit or any other authorization to carry a firearm. Charges are pending and will be handled through St. Louis County.
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