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Firearms discovered in carry-on luggage at Charlotte Douglas International Airport

With two more months to go in the year, the TSA has already detected a record number of firearms.
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:51 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - With two more months to go in the year, the TSA has already detected a record number of firearms.

The TSA says by Oct. 3, 4,495 guns had been discovered in carry-on bags - that sets a 20-year-record and the year isn’t even over yet.

With the holiday travel season around the corner, officials are reminding people to be prepared.

WBTV headed to Charlotte Douglas International Airport and found out the trend is carrying over here locally.

I think it’s a great thing that people can have the right to choose to carry arms but at the same time they should make sure those people are licensed and of sound mind to carry it,” said one Charlotte Douglas International Airport passenger.

You can never know for sure what a complete stranger in the TSA line has stashed away in their luggage.

But recently, we’ve learned, there have been firearms.

“What we can tell you is that the most often heard excuse that we get or one of the most often heard excuses is ‘I forgot it was in my carry on,’” said Patricia Mancha with the TSA.

WBTV checked in with the TSA about Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

A little over nine months into 2021, and we have already broken totals from previous years when it comes to firearms discovered in carry-on luggage.

Firearms discovered in carry-on luggage at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, according to TSA:

  • 2021 (through Oct. 12): 77
  • 2020: 52
  • 2019: 74
  • 2018: 76

“It is unfortunate that we have less travelers yet we’re seeing more and more prohibited items,” said Mancha.

She continues, “I can tell you that many states have more liberal gun laws and as a result, people may think that because they’re able to take their guns with them to many places that they may not have been able to before that the airport may be one of those places.”

If you are going to travel with a firearm, the TSA says, it must be in checked baggage, packed in a locked, hard sided case, not loaded, and it must be declared with the airline at the time you get to the airport.

Firearms are not allowed through TSA checkpoints.

“If they had the licensing and they knew what they were doing, I think I’d be a little more comfortable,” said another passenger.

The TSA says they’ve heard a ton of excuses, but it’s your responsibility to know the protocol.

If a gun is detected, police will be notified, inspection stops, and it slows down the entire process - not something you want to be dealing with especially during the busy holiday travel months ahead.

Penalties are on a case-by-case basis but can range from $2,000 to nearly $14,000 and depending on the circumstances and location, a possible arrest.

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