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TSA finds more guns at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport security checkpoints

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 8:23 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - TSA agents recently stopped two guns from being carried onto planes at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in a span of five days.

19 Investigates found this year is on pace to pass last year when it comes to the number of guns TSA agents have tracked down.

“It’s extremely dangerous and TSA really wants people to take this issue seriously,” said TSA spokesperson Jessica Mayle.

The first firearm found was a 9mm Glock, loaded with nine rounds in the magazine.

TS agents found it in a woman’s carry-on purse during screening on September 16. Four days later, TSA agents made another discovery.

They found a Cobra CB 38 in another passenger’s carry-on bag.

It was unloaded with the safety on.

In both cases, the passengers had concealed carry permits.

They said they forgot their guns were in their bags.

“In most of these cases, we think overwhelmingly these are accidents. People do not mean to carry these guns in their bags, they forget they had them in their bags. They are law abiding gun owners. But that is not an excuse and you cannot bring a gun to an airport checkpoint ever,” Mayle said.

So far TSA agents have discovered 17 guns at Cleveland Hopkins in 2021, with three months left in the year.

In 2020, they found 18 firearms and in 2019, they found 26 guns at security checkpoints. 19 Investigates found the pandemic did have an impact.

The total number of passengers screened by TSA was down by 500 million in 2020 versus 2019.

But despite that, last year TSA officers detected twice as many firearms per million passengers screened at airport security checkpoints.

“So with the number of passengers we had we would have expected to see far fewer guns than we did. The rate they were catching per passenger was up last year,” Mayle said.

TSA agents found 3,257 guns at airports nationwide in 2020.

83 percent of them were loaded.

The airport with the highest number of guns found by TSA agents was Atlanta-- the nation’s busiest.

You can face criminal charges from police and get a civil penalty from TSA if you bring guns to a checkpoint.

An average first offense for carrying a loaded handgun through is $4,100.

Passengers can travel with guns in checked baggage if they’re declared at the airline check-in counter.

Firearms must be unloaded and packed separately from ammunition in a locked, hard-sided case.

You can read more about how to properly travel with guns from the TSA here.

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