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TSA: 20 percent more guns found in passenger carry-on bags in 2015

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(Read caption) A Transportation Security Administration agent, left, helps passengers load their items into bins as they pass through security at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

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US airport security officers found more guns in carry-on bags last year.

The Transportation Security Administration announced that its screening officers confiscated 2,653 guns from passenger carry-ons, a 20 percent increase from the number of guns taken in 2014, with 83 percent of them containing ammunition.

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“The transport of firearms by commercial air in carry-on bags represents a threat to the safety and security of air travelers,” TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Through increased training in detection methods, our officers are becoming more adept at intercepting these prohibited items.”

“I am proud of the men and women who serve in the TSA and grateful for their hard work in the past year," Mr. Neffenger continued.

Neffenger said that the high number of guns seized is a sign that the airport agents are more alert and diligent in their duties, but indicated that the increase could also be attributed to the increase in the number of travelers.

In 2015, TSA screened 708 million people, 40.7 million more than the agency screened in 2014.

The most gun incidents occurred in the South, with workers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas confiscating 153 guns. At Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, 144 guns were intercepted while 100 guns were found at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Neffenger said that passengers wishing to travel with firearms should review regulations. "Passengers who wish to travel with firearms should inform themselves about laws pertaining to the possession and transport of firearms in their departure state, destination state, and any state where they may have a connecting flight," he said according to The Hill 

TSA rules prohibit passengers from carrying all weapons, including guns, knives, and ammunition, on commercial airplanes, and require that firearms be unloaded and packed in the checked luggage. The agency’s firearm rules also require passengers to “Declare each firearm each time [they] present it for transport as checked baggage.”