TSA: Last year set record for guns at US airports
Posted January 23, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Officials with the Transportation Security Administration said Friday that 2014 set a record for the number of firearms confiscated at airports across the country.
Federal authorities said 2,212 weapons were found in carry-on bags at checkpoints, a 22 percent increase from 2013. Of the weapons found, 83 percent of them were loaded.
The top number of weapons seizures happened at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where 120 guns were confiscated. The nation’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, ranked second with 109 confiscated weapons.
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport ranked No. 12 with 43 firearms, and Raleigh-Durham International Airport ranked 24th with 29 guns, officials said.
In a blogpost, TSA officials recapped some of the highlights from 2014, including a 94-year-old man who was stopped at a LaGuardia Airport checkpoint in New York with a loaded .38-caliber revolver clipped to his belt and another passenger at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport who had a 380-caliber firearm strapped to his ankle.
Guns weren’t the only items seized by security officers in 2014. TSA officials also found a number of dangerous devices, ranging from live grenades and stun guns to gun powder and artillery shells.
“Officers also find inert items that appear very realistic,” officials wrote in the blog. “The problem with these types of items is that we don’t know if they are real, toys or replicas until TSA explosives experts are called upon. Inert items can lead to disruption, closed terminals and checkpoints, which often result in canceled or delayed flights.”
Passengers also tried to smuggle a variety of concealed contraband in 2014.
Officials said they found a saw blade in a Bible, a pocket knife in a potato chip bag, an 8-inch knife inside an enchilada, a knife disguised as lipstick, two small-caliber bullets sewn into a shirt cuff, a razorblade in a cellphone and hundreds of pounds of narcotics hidden in everything from a package of raw meat to the hollowed-out pages of a textbook.
“Keep in mind that far more was discovered than those listed in this report,” TSA officials said in the blog. “When bags searches are needed, the line slows down.”