TSA: Number of guns found at security checkpoints on the rise - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

TSA: Number of guns found at security checkpoints on the rise

(WMC-TV) - The Transportation Security Agency says the number of guns found at airport security checkpoints is rising.

How do the numbers at Memphis International Airport stack up?

So far this year, six firearms have been found at the Memphis airport. There was a total of 11 firearms found in 2011.

Nationally, 1,105 firearms have been confiscated so far this year. In 2011, there were 1,320.

Security experts blame the increase on two factors: A rise in gun sales and the sharp growth of right-to-carry laws across the country that significantly relaxes regulations on carrying guns in many public places.

The TSA says often times passengers with guns in their carry-on bags forgot they were carrying them.

"I'm not going to speak to the reasons, but regardless, we're going to find that weapon. Two things are going to happen. First of all the airport police will be involved. It's a misdemeanor offense in Tennessee. TSA will periodically fine up to several thousand dollars," said Kevin McCarthy, TSA.

"I can understand if you're a cop or trained to carry one," said passenger Derek Southerland. "There's no reason why you should forget to bring it to the airport. Firearms are always a no go, unauthorized material."

The TSA reminds travelers that it is ultimately the passengers' responsibility to go through a mental check list to ensure their weapons are not brought to airport checkpoints.

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