updated 10/24/2011 11:48:34 AM ET 2011-10-24T15:48:34

A loaded handgun fell out of a checked bag being loaded onto an airliner at Los Angeles International Airport.

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It's legal to carry an unloaded firearm in checked luggage on flights as long as passengers notify the airline.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Alaska Airlines wasn't notified about the .38-caliber handgun that tumbled out of a duffel bag being loaded onto a Portland-bound flight on Sunday morning. The gun owner, whose name hasn't been released, was questioned by police and was allowed to board a later flight for Oregon.

Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lorie Dankers says the bag passed screening for explosives.

She says the TSA screens for firearms in carry-on luggage but adds it's not the agency's responsibility to detect firearms in checked luggage.

Guns, grenades and knives at the airport

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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