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Record-number of guns detected at U.S. airports

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TSA officers caught this loaded .38 semi-automatic handgun at the RIC checkpoint. (PHOTO:Transportation Security Administration)

RICHMOND, Va. — More than 50 guns were detected and seized by airport security in Virginia and West Virginia in 2014, according to the Transportation Security Administration. The number of detected guns increased by more than 50 percent from the previous year at those airports. At Richmond International Airport, TSA officers caught seven guns during security checks. The previous year two guns were caught at RIC checkpoints.

TSA Guns

“TSA takes the discovery of firearms seriously and urges all passengers to check the contents of their bags before leaving home to ensure they are not bringing any prohibited items to the airport—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition,” a TSA spokeswoman wrote in an email. “The vast majority of passengers questioned about these incidents indicate they forgot the firearm was in their bag.”

The top five airports in terms of guns caught at checkpoints in 2014 were:

    • Dallas/Fort Worth International – 120 guns
    • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International – 109 guns
    • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport – 78 guns
    • International Airport at Houston – 77 guns
    • Denver International Airport – 70 guns

More than 2,212 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, according to the TSA. More than 80 percent of the firearms were loaded.