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Ex-NBA Star Bill Russell Sorry for Gun at Airport

By Betty Wang, JD on October 21, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Hall of Fame center Bill Russell is in the spotlight -- but, this time, not for his basketball skills. Last Wednesday, the former Celtics star was arrested for having a gun at the airport, CBS reports.

A loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun was found in Russell's carry-on while he was going through security at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport last week. The gun was promptly confiscated.

Over the weekend, Russell has issued a statement regarding the incident. What is his stance on the situation, and what can we learn from this?

Dangerous Accidents

According to a statement issued by Russell, who definitely isn't the first athlete to have been arrested for having a loaded gun at an airport, the whole ordeal was a complete oversight on his part.

"Before boarding my flight from Seattle to Boston, I had accidentally left a legal firearm in my bag. I apologize and truly regret the mistake," Russell claimed, according to "I was issued a citation by the TSA, whose agents couldn't have been more thorough and professional when dealing with this. I really appreciate their efforts to keep air travel safe."

TSA Safety Reminder

All travelers should take this story as a cautionary reminder that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a somewhat strict screening process with fairly particular requirements, and even former NBA stars are not exempt from the agency's policies.

When it comes to firearms, for example, TSA rules mandate that passengers can actually carry weapons onto the plane, including firearms. However, the firearm needs be in a checked bag and cannot be loaded, among other requirements.

Aside from firearms, and as far as weapons or weapon-like items go, the TSA also allows items such as small pocket knives, small novelty bats, and golf clubs. However, it's still best to check the rules ahead of time before traveling, so you don't incur an unwanted delay in your trip.

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