Tags: Gun Control | guns | airports | carry-on | luggage | TSA | record

Record 2,212 Guns in Carry-on Airport Bags, TSA Reports

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By Jennifer G. Hickey   |   Friday, 23 Jan 2015 12:51 PM

In 2014, more than 2,000 guns were discovered in carry-on bags, a 22 percent increase over 2013, and a majority of those confiscated were loaded, the Transportation Security Administration reported Friday.

According to its year-end report, TSA agents found 2,212 firearms — or a little more than six a day — in carry-on bags, and 83 percent of them were loaded.

The number of guns represents an increase over the 1,813 firearms that were discovered in 2013 and continues a rising trend that began in 2005.

Last year, TSA agents screened more than 653 million passengers, or about 1.8 million per day, according to the report.

"DHS employees stand on the front lines protecting our nation from dangerous contraband and people, while ensuring the free flow of lawful trade and commerce — just two aspects of our mission," said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

The top three airports at which firearms were confiscated are Dallas/Fort Worth International (120); Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (109); and Phoenix Sky Harbor International (78).

Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport had 77 gun seizures, while Denver International had 70.

In addition to firearms, TSA agents found a number of other potentially deadly weapons.

According to the TSA's blog, a hand grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at Los Angeles International Airport, and a traveler at Gerald R. Ford International Airport-Grand Rapids was discovered with a tube in his carry-on bag containing 500 grains of black powder.

A passenger caught with a weapon at an airport could be fined $3,000 if the weapon is loaded, and $1,500 for an unloaded gun.

The 2014 record actually was broken several months before the end of the year. The TSA reported that, as of close of Nov. 4, 1,855 firearms had been confiscated from carry-on bags at TSA checkpoints nationwide.

The TSA's report did not address what has become a real concern for lawmakers and security experts — the lack of screening for TSA agents.

In December, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton announced that a former Delta airlines employee, a current Delta ramp agent and two others were being charged in two separate indictments for allegedly conspiring to sell 153 firearms, most of which were purchased in Georgia and headed for the streets of Brooklyn.

In the wake of the Atlanta investigation findings, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York wrote a letter to TSA Acting Administrator Melvin Carraway calling for the implementation of a national requirement that all airline employees pass through metal detectors every time they enter secure areas of an airport.

"In this day and age of terrorism, rampant drug dealing, and gun smuggling, we just can't be too careful. DA Thompson’s groundbreaking investigation underscores that clearly, the TSA should require all airline employees to be physically screened each day before entering secure airport areas," Schumer said in the letter.

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In 2014, more than 2,000 guns were discovered in carry-on bags, a 22 percent increase over 2013, and a majority of those confiscated were loaded, the Transportation Security Administration reported Friday.
guns, airports, carry-on, luggage, TSA, record, number, illegal
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2015-51-23
 

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