TSA sees increase in guns at airport security checkpoints

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The TSA is seeing a major increase in the number of firearms that are coming through airport checkpoints across the United States including in Dayton.

Last year, four guns were confiscated during the entire year. TSA officials say this year, Dayton International Airport is already at that number. Last year across the county, 2,653 guns were found going through a security checkpoint. This year, there have already been 1,500.

When a gun is found, local police have to be notified and handle the situation. The passenger will be pulled aside and the gun could be confiscated by police.

Officials say the increase is due to more people traveling and carrying guns.

“We are really asking people to pay attention to what they have in their carry on bags and remind everyone we don’t want to infringe upon anyone’s right to take a firearm with them when they travel, we just don’t want it accessible on the aircraft,” said TSA Regional Spokesperson, Mark Howell.

Every month, the airport collects 25 to 50 pounds of prohibited items such as knives and tools. Most are surrendered by passengers at the checkpoint. On Tuesday, Dayton TSA agents displayed some items collected over a months time. From a bowling pin to a kitchen knife, more than 50 items were taken.

The airport has a no cost contract with Ohio’s state surplus office. They pick up the items and dispose of them or package and re-sell them. The liquids and aerosols are treated as hazmat material and are disposed of by a different company.

Airport TSA agents say even a toy grenade can cause a big delay and panic at an airport.

“At the time we think this could be a real grenade, it could be a live grenade. We don’t know so at that time the airport would be completely shut down, local law enforcement would get involved,” said Transportation Security Officers at the Dayton Airport, Michaele Ludy.

TSA officials say if you have a question about an item you want to pack in your carry on and are not sure if it’s prohibited, tweet a picture of it to TSA. They will respond with the answer.

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