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The scary truth about American passengers

US airport screeners have discovered unsettling new truths about what some American air travellers pack in their carry-on bags. Picture: Claudia Baxter

Staff writersnews.com.au

WHETHER or not you have an opinion on gun laws in the US, this is the unsettling reality of flying in and out of American airports.

The country’s airport screeners have recently set an undesirable new record for the highest-ever number of passengers stopped from bringing handguns onto flights — most of them loaded.

And while those guns did not make it onto the aircraft, they had easily been brought into airports at a time when the aviation industry is considering ways to boost airport security in the wake of last month’s deadly terror attacks in Brussels.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials said they stopped passengers from boarding planes with 73 firearms in carry-on luggage during last week’s record-shattering haul.

The previous record of 68 firearms detected in one week was set in October last year.

After confiscating the 73 firearms, TSA carry-on screeners made the startling discovery that 68 of the weapons were loaded and more than two dozen had a round in the chamber, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported.

A Transportation Security Administration dog checks for explosives at a Missouri airport. Picture: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

A Transportation Security Administration dog checks for explosives at a Missouri airport. Picture: AP Photo/Jeff RobersonSource:AP

Two loaded guns were seized at Boston Logan Airport on Tuesday and Thursday, Fox 25 Boston reported.

Other airports where weapons were found included Raleigh-Durham, Dallas-Fort Worth, Phoenix and Detroit.

But it wasn’t just handguns that officials stopped from getting onto flights last week.

Two replica military rounds also were discovered in a checked bag at Tucson, Arizona, the TSA reported.

Under US law, guns are not allowed in carry-on bags but they can be transported in checked luggage, as long as they are unloaded and declared to the airline before the flight’s departure time, the Tribune Review reported.

“Unfortunately, these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent, which is why we talk about these finds,” the TSA’s Bob Burns told the paper.

Just a few of the guns TSA officers are finding in passengers’ carry-on bags with alarming regularity. Picture: TSA

Just a few of the guns TSA officers are finding in passengers’ carry-on bags with alarming regularity. Picture: TSASource:Supplied

“Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested.

“The passenger can face a penalty as high as $US11,000 ($AU14,300),” Burns said.

One passenger was stopped at a TSA checkpoint at Southwest Florida International Airport after a screener spotted a gun in her bag and said she forgot she had packed it, Fox 4 reported.

The 33-year-old woman was arrested because she didn’t have a concealed carry permit.

On Thursday, TSA officers stopped another passenger from bringing a loaded handgun onto a plane at Norfolk International Airport in Virginia.

The woman was stopped by an officer at the security checkpoint with a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six rounds of ammunition, including one in the chamber.

Police were contacted and confiscated the woman’s gun. She was issued a notice to face court on weapons charges.

Grenades, meat slices are mallets are among the other alarming things TSA officers have stopped people from bringing onto aeroplanes.

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