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TSA found record 2,653 guns in carry-on bags last year

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The Department of Homeland Security said that the acting head of the TSA would be replaced following a report that airport screeners failed to detect explosives and weapons in nearly all of the tests that an undercover team conducted at airports around the country. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

NEW YORK  — Travelers kept TSA on its toes in 2015.

The Transportation Security Administration intercepted a record 2,653 guns in carry-on luggage during 2015. And more than 82% of those weapons were loaded.

The guns were found at security checkpoints in 236 airports around the country.

The five airports with the most confiscated guns were: 1. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: 153 2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: 144 3. Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport: 100 4. Denver International Airport: 90 5. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport: 73

The previous record was set in 2014, when 2,212 firearms were intercepted. The numbers have been climbing for a while — in 2005, TSA found only 660 guns.

“The transport of firearms by commercial air in carry-on bags represents a threat to the safety and security of air travelers,” TSA said in a statement. “Through increased training in detection methods, our officers are becoming more adept at intercepting these prohibited items.”

In 2015, TSA screened over 708 million passengers — more than 1.9 million a day. It also screened roughly 432 million checked bags and 1.6 billion carry-ons.

Travelers who are found with guns can face criminal charges and penalties.

Firearms, firearm parts and ammunition are strictly prohibited in carry-on bags, but it’s not necessarily illegal to bring a gun on a plane. Travelers are allowed to put a weapon into a checked bag as long as it’s unloaded and they inform the airline.

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