ATLANTA — The Transportation Security Administration says several firearms and a grenade were found at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport during the Labor Day weekend.
- At 10:15 a.m. Friday, a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm was discovered in a passenger’s carry-on bag at the main checkpoint.
- At 11:15 a.m. Friday, a loaded Titan .25 caliber was discovered at the north checkpoint.
- At 7:40 p.m. Friday, a Luger 9mm was discovered at the main checkpoint.
- At 9:30 a.m. Monday, TSA officers working at the ATL main checkpoint found an inert (inactive) grenade in a passenger’s carry-on bag.
Airport police were alerted in each incident, who removed the passengers and items from the checkpoint area. We don’t know yet if anyone was arrested for a weapons violation.
Firearms may be transported in checked baggage, provided they are declared to the airline, in a proper carrying case and unloaded, but are not allowed in carry-on bags. Grenades are not allowed in carry-on or checked bags.
“Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the checkpoint,” said Mark Howell, TSA regional spokesman. “Our advice is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.”
TSA officials say they expect a record number of weapon seizures this year.
Including the three found on Friday, TSA officers at Atlanta’s airport have discovered 106 firearms at security checkpoints so far this year. A total of 109 firearms were discovered at Atlanta checkpoints in 2014.
“This just kind of highlights the trend nationwide of firearms being brought to checkpoints,” said TSA spokesman Mark Howell. “About 80 to 90 percent of the time, the firearms are loaded.”
Police arrest about one third of passengers with guns for failing to have a valid permit, but even you have a permit, you can be fined up to $7,500 for having a firearm in your carry-on.
Officials also want to remind everyone if a gun is found a in a carry-on, it prompts the shutdown of the security check point lane.
‘We are really trying to get the word out to passenger to really pay attention to what they have in their bags,” Howell said.
Some passengers are disturbed by the soaring number of airport gun seizures.
“It even alarms me that they’re carrying them inside the airport,” said traveler Steve Simakso.
But several passengers said overall, they feel safe.