The U.S. Transportation Security Administration seized a record number of firearms in travelers’ carry-on bags during the last week of October, the agency reported.
In it’s weekly blog post, the TSA said agents discovered 68 guns in baggages that passengers were bringing on board flights, breaking the prior high-water mark of 67 firearms intercepted at airport security checkpoints set a month earlier.
The TSA takes inventory of the prohibited items confiscated at airport checkpoints and publishes a weekly tally in the agency’s blog. The TSA’s “Week in Review” published October 31 reports that of the 68 guns found, 61 were loaded and 25 of them had a round in the chamber.
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Passengers aren’t prohibited from traveling with firearms as long as they are “properly stored” in checked baggage and declared, the TSA said. Failure to do so can result in a penalty fine as high as $11,000.
“Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-side case and locked. Ammunition can not be loose or in a zip-top bag. Ammunition must be in its original container/box, even if the box is partially full, and the ammunition should be placed inside the hard-side case next to the unloaded firearm,” the blog post states, citing TSA laws.
The agency also noted that firearm possession laws vary from state to state so travelers should familiarize themselves with local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.
But guns weren’t the only thing passengers attempted to bring on board flights in the U.S. during the last week of October. TSA agents seized brass knuckles, ninja stars, stun guns, knives and hatchets, among other banned items.
“If an item looks like a real bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited,” says Bob Burns, TSA's social media team lead, in the agency’s blog post. “Even if they are novelty items, you are prohibited from bringing them on board the aircraft.”
The TSA has experienced a growing number of firearm discoveries at security checkpoints since 2008. In 2014, 2,212 guns were seized from passengers' carry-on bags, a 22 percent increase from 2013 when 1,813 guns were discovered, the TSA reported. Of the guns discovered in 2014, 83 percent were loaded.