TSA says confiscations of guns, chemicals on the rise at RDU
Posted September 13, 2016
Morrisville, N.C. — The Transportation Security Administration at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Tuesday provided travelers with tips and advice as to what is allowed in a carry-on bag after the number of loaded guns rose 68 percent compared to last year.
Officials said more than 1,200 pounds of abandoned property and more than 9,000 pounds of hazardous materials, such as chemicals, were stopped by TSA officers at RDU last year. These items have included stun guns, grenades, brass knuckles and martial arts tools.
"That's not a mistake, you know that's in there," said Willa Agures, who was dropping off a passenger at the airport on Tuesday.
Since January, the TSA has stopped 37 people with guns in their carry-ons at RDU, most of them loaded. In 2015, a total of 30 were found.
"In most cases, we do think its people not focusing on what's in their bag before they head to the airport," said TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz. "People often take their bag, fling it onto the belt in the checkpoint, the gun is loaded, it’s loose, they could be shot, another passenger could be shot."
Meredith Iler said she and her husband build homes for wounded warriors. She said TSA agents never discovered tools that were accidently left in a carry-on bag while traveling.
"One time my husband accidentally forgot to put the 6-inch spikes in the checked bag," Iler said. "I think that a lot of times whether its intentional or unintentional that things that could be used as weapons are getting through."
To create awareness, TSA agents have started urging people to check their bags before they fly because contraband in carry-ons affects everyone.
"This can greatly impact negatively the processing rate at the checkpoint," said Beth Walker, federal security director at RDU.
Depending on what a passenger attempts to bring on the plane, a person can be charged or face a civil penalty of up to $11,000.