TSA adapts as more people choose to carry guns

TSA adapts as more people choose to carry guns

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - More people at airports are "packing."

The Transportation Security Administration found a record number of loaded fire arms last year at airports across the country, and earlier this week WTOC told you two have already been found at the Savannah-Hilton Head International airport this month.

So what seems to be the reason for the increase?

It may be as simple as more folks are traveling and more people have decided to lock and load.
A 20 percent increase from the guns found in 2014 here at this airport. We have already seen two. We only saw six all of last year.

With a record number of fliers and a record number of background checks conducted by the FBI in 2015, it may not be surprising to see the increase. However, TSA has had to adapt.

More training for its officers and they have the tough job of trying to make new gun owners aware of what the consequences are if you do have a gun in your carry on.

Travelers who bring firearms or ammunition to checkpoints are subject to civil fines from TSA and possible criminal penalties from local police. The excuse, I simply forgot about it, won't fly. TSA tells WTOC guns are fine for checked bags, but even that has very special conditions.

"What you are going to need is a hard sided case with padding. You will put the gun inside of that. It has to be unloaded. You can store the ammo in the box but it has to be separate from the firearm. You also have to declare that fire arm to the airline you are flying," said Mark Howell, TSA.

The owner of the gun that was found at the airport was arrested.

The other thing TSA said was these types of situations can really slow everyone else down. If a gun is found, local police have to come in and that entire security line is shut down for some time, which could delay others getting to their flights.

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