TSA finds record number of guns in carry-on bags

ABC7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO -- Guns and airplanes don't mix, but every day at airports in Chicago and across the country, travelers try to bring guns through security.

Transportation Security Administration officers found a record 2,200 guns in carry-on baggage last year. Now, the number of confiscated carry-on guns made this past week a record week; Sixty-eight guns were found as travelers bags moved through airport X-ray scanners. They are among firearms, explosives, knives and other weapons that pose an increasing risk to air travelers.

"'I forgot' or 'didn't know it was in my bag' - that's the most two common excuses," said Kevin McCarthy, TSA.

Regardless of the reason, it is illegal to try to carry a gun onto a commercial aircraft. Nevertheless, this is the weekly haul for TSA. Pistols and revolvers - the majority of them loaded - and some with a bullet in the chamber ready to be fired.

The record 68 firearms seized by TSA last week has put the agency on a course to far exceed last year's record. The data steadily climbing year-to-year, even as more attention is focused on the fact that you can't bring guns on planes - and it isn't just guns.

Explosives - real and real-looking - are also found by federal security officers inside the carry-on bags of common travelers, along with knives and concealed weapons of all kinds. A stun gun cane was found on a traveler at O'Hare in mid-October.

These potential threats at 35,000 feet come as the aviation industry wrestles with questions about what actually happened to a Russian jetliner on Saturday. Investigators are picking through the wreckage of the plane that crashed from cruising altitude over Egypt, without a mayday call.

ISIS has claimed responsibility and U.S. counterterror officials seem to be leaning toward some intentional act. But so far, it isn't clear whether the Russian plane was doomed by an on-board bomb, or something else.

"We could say perhaps it was a bomb that made the airplane come apart. Or perhaps it was some unknown structural failure where the airplane just came apart. But right now we don't have any evidence that leads us one way or another," said Col. Stephen Ganyard, ABC News aviation consultant.

Metrojet Airline officials say technical faults or human errors couldn't have caused their Flight 9268 to crash. Russian officials say it's too soon to tell what caused the jet to plunge, killing all 224 people on board. But if it ends up intentional, authorities will be looking at the airport process in Egypt for baggage and passengers.

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