More passengers carry concealed weapons through airport checkpoints

9:29 PM, Oct 1, 2012   |    comments
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An X-ray of luggage (file photo)

ATLANTA, Ga. -- The number of passengers carrying weapons in their carry-on bags through airport security checkpoints is on the rise nationwide.

In 2010, it was more than 1,100. So far this year, it's already near that amount and there are still 3 months to go.

At Hartsfield-Jackson, a new record is sure to be set. Last year, 70 guns were discovered, and so far this year it's already up to 67.

Say you didn't know the gun was there. Say it was somebody else's bag. It really doesn't matter. 

Fifty-eight people who walked through the security checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport so far this year carrying a concealed weapon were arrested and taken to the Clayton County Jail.

Representatives from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says passengers should know better.

"The prohibition on firearms is nothing new. Fact it is has been here decades before the TSA was created. It is something that people that fly should be familiar with," said Jon Allen, a regional executive with the TSA in Atlanta.

In addition to facing jail time, passengers with concealed weapons face fines can go as high as $7,500.

TSA thinks one solution is transporting firearms in checked bags with advance notice to the airline, following special rules.

But to cut down on carry-on weapons issues, TSA is using blogs and social media to get the word out.

"Every week on the TSA Blog, every Friday afternoon, we post an itemized listing of all the airports where we discovered firearms over that week. We also post photos of several of these firearms. On Twitter we are undertaking that same strategy." Allen added.

"You would think with the laws we have in place, with the security we have, you would think no person would think twice about bringing a concealed weapon inside an airport." Said Charles Epps, an airline passenger.

Ironically, carrying a weapon into an airport is fine.

"If someone is coming in (to the airport), walking in and dropping somebody off, and they have a concealed weapon and permit, that's fine," said Louis Miller, General Manager of Hartsfield-Jackson.

But for passengers, the rules are strict and harsh.

Before you get to Hartsfield-Jackson, go though every compartment in the carry-on. Once you get to the Airport, there are no announcements telling you not to carry a concealed weapon.

If you have concealed weapon, once you pass through the security point, it's too late.

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