Orlando airport ranks No. 5 for TSA firearm seizures, here's how it got that ranking

Fireworks, mortar shells among other weapons detected by TSA at MCO

By Larissa Hamblin - Digital Intern

ORLANDO, Fla. - Most people know not to bring firearms in their airport carry-on bags. However, Transportation Security Administration agents discovered over 100 guns at Orlando International Airport last year, according to TSA officials.

In 2018, MCO ranked No. 5 for having the most firearm discoveries out of 249 airports in the nation, the TSA said. A total of 123 guns were detected at the airport, a jump from the 94 firearms found in 2017.

Across the nation, a total of 813.8 million passengers and crew members passed through TSA screening, officials said. The total came to over 2 million travelers each day, which is a 5.5 percent increase over the 2017 total, according to the TSA. This also came with a 7 percent increase in firearm detections over the 2017 total.

Last year, a record-setting 4,239 total firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints nationwide, averaging 11.6 firearms each day, officials said. Of that number, 3,656 of those weapons were loaded.

Here are the top 10 airports for firearm discoveries in 2018:

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): 298 discovered; 253 loaded.
  2. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): 219 discovered;193 loaded.
  3. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): 129 discovered; 120 loaded.
  4. Denver International Airport (DEN): 126 discovered; 95 loaded.
  5. Orlando International Airport (MCO): 123 discovered; 112 loaded.
  6. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH): 117 discovered; 115 loaded.
  7. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL): 96 discovered; 80 loaded.
  8. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS): 93 discovered; 76 loaded.
  9. Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL): 89 discovered; 83 loaded.
  10. Nashville International Airport (BNA): 86 discovered; 80 loaded.

At MCO, other prohibited items were discovered, including fireworks in a passenger's carry-on bag and five replica mortar shells in the checked bag of another passenger, which required baggage screening operations to stop until an explosives specialist could determine the items were safe.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. The TSA may also impose civil penalties of up to $13,333 per violation for prohibited items violations, officials said. To avoid penalties, passengers should familiarize themselves with state and local laws regarding traveling with firearms, in addition to TSA regulations.

Although the list of strangest items discovered in 2018 has yet to be released, the video from 2017 is available and provides a good eyebrow raise.

Copyright 2019 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.