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Gazette-Mail editorial: Gun responsibility: Protect yourself and others

Again, we are imploring gun owners to be responsible with their weapons by knowing where they are at all times and keeping them secure.

Another traveler was stopped by Transportation Safety Administration officers at Yeager Airport over the weekend when a loaded handgun was found in her carry-on bag. That marks the fifth time this year this has happened at Yeager, according to TSA officials. Earlier this month, at Huntington Tri-State Airport, two people were cited for trying to bring firearms onto planes within a span of four days.

Between the two airports, there have been 11 incidents of passengers trying to board planes with firearms, and it’s only late July. In all of 2018, there were only two such incidents in Huntington.

Individually, both airports have already outpaced JFK International, where four such incidents had occurred as of mid-July, according to the TSA. One of those incidents involved a man from West Virginia who had a loaded firearm in his carry-on.

The troubling thing uniting all of these incidents is that, nearly every time, the gun owner knows it’s illegal to bring a firearm on a plane and has simply forgotten the gun was in their bag.

Look, modern life is frantic. People are always going from one place to the next, usually in a hurry. But it’s not like these are discarded packs of Tic-Tacs in the bottom of a duffel bag or purse. They’re handguns, often loaded and, sometimes, with a round in the chamber.

If someone can’t remember they left a loaded, lethal instrument in their carry-on bag, where else are they or others being absent-minded about it? That’s the real issue, here. Too many people die or are wounded because a gun owner hasn’t properly stored or secured a firearm. If Americans want to continue to have the right to own guns, they need to treat them with the grave responsibility such ownership demands. It’s vital, not only to their own safety, but the safety of everyone around them.

Here’s another refresher. If an airline passenger wants to bring their firearm to their destination, it must be checked as luggage, unloaded and stored in a hard case. Ammunition must be packed separately.

Those who attempt to bring a firearm on a plane can be arrested, and are almost always issued a citation that can carry a fine of more than $13,000. A typical fine for a first offense is about $4,000.

Funerals Today, Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Armstead, David - Noon, Chapman Funeral Home, Winfield.

Crawford, Charles - 7:30 p.m., Andrews' residence, Belleaire at Devonshire, Scott Depot.

Duff, Catherine Ann - 11 a.m., Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar.

Jarrett, Shirley - 1 p.m., Mt. Juliet United Methodist Church, Belle.

Lawrentz, Deo Mansfried - 11 a.m., Koontz Cemetery, Clendenin.

McGraw, Judy Fay - 2 p.m., Jodie Missionary Baptist Church, Jodie.

Mullins, Alice Ellen (Blessing) - Noon, Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Staats, Anthony Vernon “Tony” - 1 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.