Spike in guns confiscated at Tampa International Airport

10:50 PM, May 11, 2013   |    comments
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TAMPA, Florida - Despite repeated warnings, the number of guns confiscated from passengers at Transportation and Security Administration checkpoints has spiked.

New numbers obtained by 10 News show that just four months into 2013, the TSA confiscated 11 handguns from passengers at Tampa International Airport.

TSA officials estimate 2013 will outpace the number of guns confiscated from carry-on luggage last year. In 2012, 18 guns were taken from travelers at TIA checkpoints.

The number has been steadily growing since 2010.

"Often they are loaded, which add to the obvious security concerns that we have, the additional safety concern," said Gary Milano, federal security director for the greater Tampa Bay region.

Milano said most travelers simply forget the weapon was in their carry-on. But at least one traveler we talked to said the number indicates irresponsible gun ownership.

"I would hope that if you had a gun you'd know that you had one, right? You know, we talk about responsible gun ownership and everything," said Clarence Williams, who was preparing to board a flight to New York on Saturday afternoon.

Most of the guns found in carry-on luggage at TIA were small pistols. Many were fully loaded.

"People going on a plane with a loaded gun. I mean, that's crazy," said Carol Hartl, who was heading to New Jersey on Saturday afternoon.

Nationally, the numbers are also in the rise. In 2011, there were 1,300 weapons confiscated from passengers at TSA checkpoint. The number increased to roughly 1,500 in 2012.

The numbers also bring to mind the question whether weapons could have been missed.

When asked if it's possible a gun has ever made it through security, Milano said, "On the level of firearms, I don't think so. I mean, those numbers speak for themselves."

The number of passengers busted with weapons in checked luggage without a FAA approved gun box also spiked.

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