TSA Finds Loaded Handgun At QC Airport - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

TSA Finds Loaded Handgun At QC Airport

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MOLINE, IL -- A loaded handgun was found at checkpoint at Quad Cities International Airport on Thursday. It happened around 5 o'clock in the morning.

Officials say the weapon was found in 58-year-old John Van Epps' carry-on luggage as it was going through the x-ray at security. TSA officers found a Walther PPK .380 caliber handgun. with six loaded rounds. From there, they called Metropolitan Airport Authority Officers who were arrested the suspect. Van Epps has a Georgia carry and conceal permit, but weapons are not permitted on planes. He is charged with unlawful use of weapons and was confined at Rock Island County Jail.

Federal Security Director for TSA Downstate Illinois, John Hursey, says, "Certainly we're all concerned because that's a potential threat to security."

Many passengers are also worried that someone would try to bring a handgun on board. Passenger Dan Beck says, "It makes me feel uncomfortable knowing that there could be someone packing a loaded handgun on an airplane."

Carley Adams, another passenger, says, "It's actually pretty scary. I travel a lot. I'm probably only home one week a month so knowing that someone would bring it on the plane is kind of scary."

Travelers also say they feel safe and are glad that TSA officers were able to find the loaded weapon before it got past security.

Roy Barnett, passenger, says "I still feel very safe. I don't have a problem with it. They found the weapon, so as long as they find it and it's not used where it shouldn't be, I feel pretty safe."

Adams adds, "It's a good thing they caught it. That makes me feel good. It makes me feel safer."

Hursey says his TSA officers followed all proper procedures and he is glad that this case ended quickly, safely, and with an arrest. "Our main focus is keeping guns, explosive devises and incendiary devices off airplanes. So certainly a loaded hand gun in the passenger compartment of an airplane is a very serious situation and could compromise the integrity of the aircraft."

There are ways to safely travel with guns. The weapons must be stowed in a check-in luggage and declared to the airline. The gun must also be in a hard case, separate from the ammunition.

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