TSA agents found 28 percent more guns in carry-ons in 2016 than the previous year for a total of 3,391, and 83 percent of them were loaded, says a new blog post from the Transportation Security Administration.
The fact that Americans are buying more guns each year could be contributing to the rising number of guns found in carry-on luggage, which has increased every year since 2007, CNN Money reported. Background checks for gun buys and permits also have risen over the last nine years.
In 2005, the TSA confiscated only 660 guns, which is less than 20 percent of 2016’s total.
According to the TSA, most people caught with a gun in their luggage say they simply don't remember having a firearm, ammunition, or another prohibited item in their carry-on, so the agency asked in the blog post that all passengers check their luggage before boarding a plane.
"If you’re grabbing a bag, suitcase, briefcase, jacket or other item you haven’t used in a while, be sure to give it the onceover so you don’t accidentally take something prohibited to the checkpoint," the TSA said.
It is legal to transport unloaded firearms in checked luggage, but in carry-ons, they are prohibited.
TSA agents took guns from 238 different airports in the U.S. Airports in Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix, Denver, and Orlando topped the list with the highest number of confiscated guns.
Other items confiscated by TSA agents included fake grenades that look real, cane swords, and knives made to look like combs, belt buckles, and lipstick.
The report comes a week after five people were shot and killed in Fort Lauderdale’s airport in Florida. The suspect, Esteban Santiago, had his semiautomatic shotgun in his checked baggage, but it is unclear how he was able to fire on the baggage claim area outside of screening.
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