SAN ANTONIO — Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at San Antonio International Airport Monday confiscated what appears to be an anti-tank rifle.
TSA spokesperson Patricia Mancha said officers found the item, which resembles a Carl Gustaf 84mm recoilless rifle, in checked baggage.
The case's owner did not declare any firearms' presence to the airline, prompting TSA agents to confiscate the case.
"We don't see that caliber of weapon very often, thank god," Mancha said.
The Carl Gustaf rifle is among the most portable anti-tank weapons. Swedish manufacturers produced the first model in 1946.
It is legal to own anti-tank rifles in Texas, as long as the owner registers the explosive weapon with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and clears intense background checks. Americans may also fly with such weapons, provided they follow the TSA's rules for transporting firearms.
Guns can travel in checked baggage if they're not loaded, stored in a hard-sided container, and if the owner has declared the gun's presence to their airline.
"It's really alarming for anyone who wants to travel with that kind of weapon to not follow the rules that are set," Mancha said. "They're not difficult. They're not a secret."
But two weapons experts tell KENS 5 the confiscated luggage might actually contain a replica Carl Gustaf rifle or an inert display gun.
Flyers can place a replica gun in checked baggage without declaring its presence, but they cannot fly with items that resemble explosives. Mancha could not say whether it'd be okay to fly with a fake Carl Gustaf.
Still, she said, the case's owner should've told TSA or the airline about the item before checking the case.
Mancha said San Antonio authorities are now handling the case. Officials with the San Antonio Police Department said Tuesday morning that while no charges were filed and the weapon was "de-militarized" and unable to be fired, it was passed off to a relative of the passenger after TSA didn't allow it onboard.
The nation's largest gun show begins in Las Vegas Tuesday. SAPD was able to confirm the passenger was heading there.
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