Number of handguns seized at airports on the rise



ORLANDO, Fla. - WFTV has learned that a surprising number of people have tried to carry handguns on to flights at Orlando International Airport.

WFTV filed requests for records with the Transportation Security Administration and found a nearly 20 percent spike in the number of guns seized at U.S. airports last year.

Those records also showed a huge spike in Orlando.

In 2011, TSA workers stopped 44 firearms at the security gates at OIA and 12 far this year. That was far more than some other major U.S. airports.

"All of the contents of your carry-on bag are going to be x-rayed.  And in nearly all of the instances we find firearms at a checkpoint, it's through x-rays," said Jonathan Allen of the TSA.

In each case airport police were called, and the carry-on bags seized.

Documents show the passengers then faced a hefty fine from TSA.

In at least one case, a passenger traveling through Georgia was prosecuted, charged with a misdemeanor for carrying a weapon. Her husband said it was an accident.

"She simply forgot to take it out of her purse," said Allen.

WFTV presented the numbers to Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia. Broun has been trying to shut down the TSA. He said the numbers didn't change his mind.

"Thing is, a law abiding citizen, bringing a handgun on an airplane is not a danger. A terrorist with a handgun or a bomb is. We've got to start focusing on the terrorists," said Broun.

A spokesperson for OIA said airport managers are considering new signage in the terminal reminding people they can't carry weapons.

A spokeswoman said one reason the number of seized firearms is so high at OIA is because it ranks third in the nation in originating flights.

More people go through security at OIA than other, even larger, airports.