BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Transportation Security Administation (TSA) says its agents detected thousands of guns in traveler’s carry-on luggage in 2016, and a large percentage of those guns were loaded.
The hustle and bustle of the airport can be stressful for travelers, but the pressure on TSA agents is very high, where even one slip up could be devastating.
The TSA reports they intercepted 3,391 guns from making it through security and onto planes across the United States, with 83 percent of those firearms being loaded when they found them.
“The number one excuse that we hear is that they forgot that they had it with them,” said TSA official Lisa Farbstein. “The second most common excuse we hear is that their wife or husband packed their bag. And I tell you what, neither of those excuses fly.”
Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is at the top of this undesirable list, with 198 guns being found by TSA agents.
Here in Baltimore, the number is much lower, but there were still 24 guns seized at BWI. And that number has steadily increased, with 2016 being the highest number of guns found at TSA checkpoints in four years. It increased 50 percent from 2015.
Another unusual item that was detected by agents here in Baltimore is an ax. It was pulled from a passenger’s carry-on before they made it past security.
“Um, It’s a little scary,” said traveler Marguerite Spriggs. “[Reporter: Why is it scary for you?] That that many people are trying to bring them in, don’t know the rules.”
The TSA, which screens 2 million U.S. travelers every day, says its sole goal is passenger safety.
“As long as they are finding them before they get on the flight, I am good,” said traveler Shaneque Goodgame. “But if they find them when they get on the flight, I am kind of terrified.”
Now you are able to fly with a gun, but it must be checked, unloaded, and packed separately from ammunition.
Passengers who have been caught with firearms at BWI have been arrested.