Feb. 4 (UPI) — The Transportation Security Administration confiscated a record number of firearms found in carry-on bags in 2017, the agency said in a report.
TSA found 3,957 firearms at 239 airport security checkpoints across the country last year, which was a 16.7 percent increase from 2016. Of those firearms found in 2017, about 84 percent were loaded, according to the TSA report.
TSA agents at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport confiscated the highest number of firearms, with 245, including 222 that were loaded.
Dallas/Fort Worth International airport came in second with 211, including 165 loaded firearms.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston (142 firearms, 124 loaded), Denver International (118 firearms, 102 loaded) and Phoenix Sky Harbor International (115 forearms, 109 loaded), rounded out the top five.
Dallas’ much smaller Love Field airport — a medium-sized hub — came in 8th on the list with 9 guns, 81 of them loaded, beating out dozens of international airports with higher traffic numbers across the country.
“When you look at the top 10 airports with the highest seizures, a lot are in states where concealed carry is common,” aviation security expert Jeff Price told CNBC. “In Atlanta, you can even carry a weapon in the public areas of the terminal building.”
TSA said most gun confiscations were the result of passengers accidentally bringing them to the airport.
“Many people who have brought guns, ammunition, knives and other prohibited item say that they did so unknowingly,” TSA said. “You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline.”