ATLANTA -- A record number of guns -- more than 1,500 -- have been found by airport security screeners this year, and 85 percent have been loaded, the Transportation Security Administration reports.
As of last Friday, the TSA had found 1,527, of which 1,295 were loaded, NBC News says. That's the most since the agency was created after the Sept. 11, 2011, terror attacks.
By Friday, the week's finds are expected to push the total beyond 1,550.
PHOTOS | They tried to get WHAT through security?!
Between Dec. 14 -- the day of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre -- and Dec. 21, TSA screeners spotted 34 handguns that passengers tried to bring aboard their flights. Only two were unloaded. The week before, 29 guns -- 21 loaded -- were found at checkpoints.
The first week of December was even busier. Screeners confiscated 41 firearms, 40 stun guns, four grenades -- and a rocker launcher. "No Partridge in a Pear Tree," the TSA mused on its blog.
The most commonly detected gun? A .380 semiautomatic pistol.
So far in 2012, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport head the list of gun confiscations (90), followed by Dallas-Fort Worth (78), NBC reported. Five Texas airports are in the top 11.
Besides firearms, passengers have also tried to bring a variety of other weapons in their carry-on bags this month. Some recent finds:
* A speargun. It was discovered at George Bush Intercontinental in Houston -- armed with one spear.
* Concealed blades. A cane featuring a hidden sword was found in Kahului, Hawaii, while a cane with a secret 8-inch knife was detected in Baltimore.
* Ammunition. A Bismarck, N.D., passenger was carrying a magazine loaded with five .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire rounds in his pants pocket.
* Shotgun shell Christmas lights were found in Newark.
What happens when TSA screeners find weapons?
"We don't have detection authority," TSA spokesman David Castelveter told NBC. "The immediate procedure is to call the local authority."
(Michael Winter, USA TODAY)