TSA confiscates record 74 firearms from fliers' carry-on bags

ORLANDO, Fla. — During the past week, the Transportation Security Administration said it confiscated 74 firearms, 65 of which were loaded, from carry-on bags at airports across the country.

Eighteen of the guns had a round in the chamber, the TSA said.

Two of the loaded guns were pulled from bags at Orlando International Airport, a TSA report showed. OIA led the state in confiscated firearms two years ago.

"Since January, we've had 30 firearms come through detectors here at the checkpoint and we had another one this weekend, so we're up to 31," TSA security chief Jerry Henderson said.

Henderson attributed the jump to an increase in people obtaining concealed weapons permits, and forgetting to store their weapons before arriving at the airport.

"Once someone brings a firearm through, we find it, turn it over to local law enforcement and it's up to them whether they're arrested locally, or whatever the case may be," Henderson said.

He said passengers can travel with a firearm, but it must be declared as checked baggage at the counter and must be unloaded in a locked container.

"If it's in a peak period, it basically shuts that lane down for up to 10 minutes or more, so all those people behind them have to be redirected," Henderson said.

The number of firearms found in bags was the most ever confiscated in a single week, officials said.

Fliers are allowed to bring firearms on airplanes, but they must be declared, unloaded, locked in a hard-sided container and can only be packed in checked luggage, according to TSA regulations.

Even toy or non-functioning replica guns are banned from carry-on luggage, but the 74 found in the last week were all real, the TSA said.

The record breaking number of guns found at U.S. airports came during a busy holiday weekend.

Over the weekend at OIA alone, more than 600,000 passengers were expected to pass through the doors.

The TSA weapons report also said guns were found at airports in Jacksonville and Tampa.

Along with guns, TSA also confiscated numerous items in the past week, including ammunition and knives.

The previous record for firearms confiscated from carry-on bags was 73 and was set last month, the TSA said.

Those caught with firearms face a civil fine from TSA, which could be as high as $11,000.