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The TSA released this collage of images of some of the thousands of guns found in carry-on luggage in 2017. (Transportation Security Administration)
The TSA released this collage of images of some of the thousands of guns found in carry-on luggage in 2017. (Transportation Security Administration)

TSA screeners found record number of guns at U.S. airports in 2017, and most were loaded

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(KOMO) Security screeners found a record number of firearms in carry-on bags at U.S. airports last year - including 75 guns found at Sea-Tac International Airport, the Transportation Security Administration announced.

The total of 3,957 firearms found at airports nationwide in 2017 marked a 16.7 percent increase over the year before, when 3,391 guns were found.

The vast majority of the guns found in carry-ons last year - some 84 percent - were loaded, TSA officials said. More than 34 percent had a round in the chamber, according to officials.

The numbers were reported in TSA's "Year in Review," released Tuesday.

The report says TSA agents screened more than 771.5 million passengers traveling through U.S. airports in 2017 - which amounts to more than 2 million per day. An average of nearly 11 guns were found in carry-on bags each day.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport had the greatest number of gun discoveries, with 245 found. Of those, 222 were loaded.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport came in second, with 211 guns found, and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston was third, with 142 guns found.

Sea-Tac Airport came in No. 10, with 75 guns found in carry-on luggage. Sixty of those were loaded.

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In addition to firearms discovered last year, there were many hazardous items passengers attempted to travel with.

A checked bag containing an ammunition box with three live ground burst simulators, two live M83 smoke grenades and one inert practice grenade was discovered at the Palm Springs International Airport.

Other discoveries at U.S. airports last year included a live flash-bang grenade in a carry-on bag at the San Diego International Airport and a live smoke grenade in a carry-on bag at the Raleigh–Durham International Airport.

Containers of gunpowder were also found in checked bags at three airports. While properly packed ammunition is allowed in checked bags, gunpowder is strictly prohibited altogether.

A total of 198 prohibited items were deliberately hidden in carry-on bags in attempts to sneak them through security in 2017. This can lead to fines, arrests, and missed flights.

These dangerous items included a comb dagger, a knife concealed inside a stick of deodorant, a stun gun disguised as a tube of lipstick, a sword cane, a brush dagger, a stun cane and a lipstick knife.

TSA may impose civil penalties of up to $13,066 per violation per person for prohibited items violations and violations of other TSA regulations. Repeat violations will result in higher penalties.

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