1:55 PM PT -- Runnels claims she was carrying the loaded gun because she had just been called to her mother's house to deal with an armadillo that was digging up the yard ... this according to the police report obtained by TMZ Sports.
Runnels told cops she simply forgot she had the gun on her when she went to the airport ... chalking the whole thing up to a genuine mistake.
Cops say the loaded weapon was inside of a sock located in Runnels' backpack.
10:40 AM PT -- TMZ Sports has obtained a photo of the gun Terri was allegedly carrying at the airport -- a Glock 9mm handgun ... and officials say it was LOADED.
We count at least 11 bullets -- which appear to be hollow-tipped, which tend to cause more soft tissue damage upon impact with a target. In other words, it's a more lethal round.
Ex-WWE superstar Terri Runnels -- who was famously married to Goldust (aka Dustin Rhodes) back in the day -- was arrested in Florida on Wednesday after officials say she brought a gun to the airport.
TMZ Sports has confirmed ... 52-year-old Runnels was arrested by the Tampa International Airport Police at 7:32 AM for "carrying a concealed firearm," a class 3 felony.
We're told she was arrested at a security checkpoint with a loaded Glock 9mm.
The charge carries a punishment of up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
She was taken to jail and bond was set at $2,000. Records show she's still locked up as of this post.
According to her booking sheet, Runnels is listed at 5'0", 119 pounds with blue eyes and blonde hair.
Runnels mainly worked as a manager during her wrestling career -- working with the likes of The Hardy Boyz, Edge, Christian and most notably her ex-husband, Goldust.
She was married to Goldust (aka Dustin Rhodes aka Dustin Runnels) from 1993 to 1999.
Runnels won the WWE Hardcore Championship back in 2002 -- she's one of only 4 women to hold that title.
Runnels last appeared at a WWE event in January 2018 as part of the WWE Raw 25 Year special.