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Salt Lake airport security arrests pilot for gun in luggage

Published July 25, 2012 11:23 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A 30-year-old man was arrested at Salt Lake City International Airport after a security screening turned up a semi-automatic handgun and two loaded clips in his luggage.

Airport spokeswoman Barbara Gann confirmed the arrest of Erick Wirz, who was booked into Salt Lake County jail Monday on suspicion of two misdemeanor violations. He was released on his own recognizance pending court proceedings, jail records show.

Wirz's telephone number was unlisted, but he has reportedly expressed regret for the incident. However, Fox 13 News reported that a police source suggested that Wirz should have known better — since he is a professional helicopter pilot presumably aware of regulations regarding the legal air transport of firearms.

Police say Wirz was apparently trying to get on to a morning flight to Las Vegas before he was screened by TSA security and the .45-caliber firearm was found during a scan of his luggage.

This was the 14th firearms transport-related incident at the airport this year, TSA records indicate.

remims@sltrib.com