TSA finds record number of firearms at airports in 2017

RDU (WTVD) -- More people than ever before traveled through RDU International Airport in 2017 with 11.6 million arriving and departing passengers.

It's part of a nationwide trend of more people taking to the skies and at TSA checkpoints, agents discovered a record-setting number of firearms in carry-on bags: 3,957, a 17 percent increase from 2016.

Of those guns found, 84 percent were loaded.

At RDU, TSA agents found 59 firearms, a 9 percent increase from the year prior.

Michael England, National Spokesperson for the TSA said the reason passengers most often give TSA agents is they simply forgot the gun was in their bag.

That very thing happened to Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Barbour said he will pay a fine after being arrested with a loaded handgun in his briefcase as he went through an airport security checkpoint.

Barbour - Republican National Committee chairman in the mid-1990s and governor from 2004-12 - told The Associated Press that he was trying to board a flight Jan. 2 from Jackson to Washington. He said he forgot he was carrying the gun, which he had put in his briefcase after an assistant removed it from his car days earlier.

"There is a right way to travel with a firearm and a wrong way," England said. "The wrong way is to bring it to a checkpoint. Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Then the firearm must be taken to the airline check-in counter."

The TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm on TSA.gov.

However, airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition, so if you're planning to travel with a firearm and ammunition, you should contact your airline about their policies.
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