TSA finds record number of firearms in carry-on bags

23 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Loaded gun found by Sacramento TSA agents.

Airport security agents in California stopped a passenger who was accidentally carrying an 8.5-inch knife in an enchilada.(Photo: Transportation Security Administration) WASHINGTON — A record 2,212 firearms — most of them loaded — were discovered in travelers’ carry-on bags at U.S. airports last year, according to 2014 statistics released today by the Department of Homeland Security. The incident is just one of a growing number of cases where agents discovered travelers who either forgot or didn’t know they couldn’t carry firearms and other dangerous items into the secure area.Transportation Security Administration officers interact with nearly two million travelers across the United States each day with one goal – ensure the safety of the traveling public.At Norfolk International Airport, seven firearms were discovered both years, but two were found at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport after none were found in 2013. The Transportation Safety Administration’s 2014 year-in-review report released Thursday reported 2,212 firearms confiscated at airports across the country.

TSA said the most common excuse travelers gave for having weapons at the checkpoint was they forgot they were carrying it or forgot it was in their bag. “It’s a little surprising that you would forget you are carrying a gun,” said traveler Stephen Libbey. “That worries me a little bit. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport had 120 firearms discovered, the highest number, followed by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International which had 109. Most passengers told agents they simply forgot the weapons were inside the bags, according to the agency, which urges people to make sure they don’t try to take anything aboard an airplane inside a bag that is prohibited. In the same period, more than 1,400 firearm components, replica firearms, stun guns, and other similar dangerous objects were discovered by TSA in carry-on luggage. Agents also stopped a 94-year-old man who tried to enter the checkpoint at New York’s LaGuardia Airport with a loaded .38-caliber revolver clipped to his belt.

Kennedy International Airport opened a checked bag for a routine inspection, they discovered many containers for household items like baby wipes, coffee, lemonade mix and a box of cat litter actually contained two disassembled .40 caliber handguns, 350 rounds of ammunition, and 58 bricks (33 pounds) of marijuana. Dallas Fort Worth was one of the top five airports for firearm discoveries last year. (Photo: Tom Pennington, Getty Images) •An 8.5-inch knife was discovered inside an enchilada a woman traveler was carrying at the Sonoma County Airport in California. TSA takes the discovery of firearms seriously and urges all passengers to check the contents of their bags before leaving home to ensure they are not bringing any prohibited items to the airport — including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition. In 2014, TSA also expanded its expedited screening program that allows low-risk travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belts, keep laptops in their cases and 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bags in carry-ons in select screening lanes. She had simply forgotten she had put the knife in with her food. •A hand grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at Los Angeles International Airport.

Writing utensils, a highlighter and pen being carried by a Philadelphia International Airport passenger were found to be concealing small knives, as well. Nationwide, fewer than 1 percent of passengers waited in a checkpoint line longer than 20 minutes and TSA screened more than 443 million checked bags and nearly 1.7 billion carry-on bags in 2014. The agency seized more than $10 million in counterfeit Beats by Dre headphones, more than $1 million in counterfeit Gibson, Les Paul and other brand-name guitars, and more than $1 million in counterfeit soccer apparel with fake trademarks from popular teams such as Real Madrid, Celtic and Chelsea. Many other concealed items were discovered last year including: a razorblade in a cell phone, a saw blade in a bible, a cell phone knife case, a lipstick stun gun, a pocket knife in a potato chip bag, two rounds of .22 caliber ammo sewn into a shirt cuff and a machete concealed under the lining of bag.

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