More and more Americans are apparently attempting to take airline security into their own hands. In data provided by the Transport Security Administration to the AP, there is evidence of a significant increase in the number of firearms that passengers try to take through TSA screening points in airports around the country.
In only the first half of this year, the TSA seized 894 guns from passengers – 30 percent more than the year before. From 2011 to 2012, the number of firearms seized increased by 17 percent.
Many of these weapons were seized from people who claim they simply forgot they were carrying a gun onto a plane. Airports in the south and west of the United States had the largest reported number of gun seizures.
Some of the stories of the seizures in the AP report are genuine head-shakers. To wit:
Raymond Whitehead, 53, of Santa Fe, N.M., was arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey in May after screeners spotted 10 hollow-point bullets in his carry-on bag. Whitehead, who is completely blind, also had a .38 caliber Charter Arms revolver in his checked bag that he had failed to declare.
The TSA found the weapons on the passengers’ person, in their carry-on luggage and even in a boot that one man was wearing on his prosthetic leg. Depending on the gun laws of the jurisdiction where the airports are located, some of the gun-toting passengers were arrested and others were not.
If you think 894 guns in six months is a lot, consider that these numbers don’t include BB guns, spear guns, flare guns, stun guns and other ballistic weapons.
Last month the TSA recently reversed their decision to allow small knives onto planes. They have not made any statements reiterating the ban on firearms.