The number of firearms confiscated at airport-security checkpoints across the U.S. has been climbing steadily for seven years, says the Philadelphia Daily News. The Transportation Security Administration says it discovered 2,212 guns, most loaded with live ammunition, in carry-on bags at 224 U.S. airports. In 2007, the figure stood at 803 firearms. The most firearms were found at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, 120.
“It’s definitely not proportional to the increase in passenger volume,” TSA spokesman Michael McCarthy said. “We don’t know what it is. The numbers continue to trend upward, which is concerning to us. The vast majority of people say they simply forgot it was there . . . We’re not necessarily seeing malicious intent there. It’s more like absent-mindedness.” It might be easy to forget that you have a mostly empty 12-ounce bottle of vending-machine water in your bag as you barrel toward that flight you can’t miss. (Liquids in containers larger than 3.4 ounces aren’t permitted through security checkpoints. But could you forget that you have a loaded folding-stock rifle with two loaded magazines, like the one TSA found in a passenger’s bag last year at Dallas/Fort Worth International? Or the improvised explosive device training kit – complete with inert blasting caps, detonators, detonating cord and C-4 – discovered last year in a checked bag at Honolulu International Airport?