A bazooka-like weapon powerful enough to take down a military tank was seized from a passenger’s checked baggage in Texas because the traveler had failed to declare the weapon to authorities, the Transportation Security Administration said.
The 84 mm caliber anti-tank rifle was discovered Monday by TSA screeners checking bags at San Antonio International Airport, the agency tweeted.
The firearm is similar to an M3 Carl Gustaf and can be legally owned in the Lone Star State, although it requires an extensive background check.
The TSA does allow guns on planes, but only if they are in checked bags. Any traveler with a firearm must also declare it to the airline when their luggage is handed over, TSA explained. Weapons must also be unloaded and in a hard-sided, secured case.
“It’s really alarming for anyone who wants to travel with that kind of weapon to not follow the rules that are set,” TSA Spokeswoman Patricia Mancha told local station KENS 5. “They’re not difficult. They’re not a secret.”
The rifle is so large it usually requires two people to operate — one who aims and fires it and a second who acts as a loader and carries ammunition.
“We don’t see that caliber of weapon very often, thank god,” Mancha added.
The case has been handed over to the San Antonio Police Department, which will determine if the passenger will face charges.
The number of firearms found in carry-on baggage across US airports has steadily increased. More than 6,500 were found in 2022, according to TSA figures.
Out of the top 10 airports where federal authorities find guns in carry-on bags, three are in Texas: Austin, Dallas and Houston.