TSA warns travelers to check luggage before checkpoints after record number of firearms

Around 2,000 pounds of prohibited items stopped per month, TSA says

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando International Airport is reminding passengers to check their luggage before making their way to their way to check in on a flight after the Transportation Safety Administration reported record numbers of firearms being flagged.

“This could’ve been checked, but it could not go into a cabin in the aircraft and unfortunately the person chose to just leave it behind,” said Sari Koshetz, a spokeswoman for TSA, while showing News 6 some prohibited items.

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Items from pool cues, knives, and even a bowling pin were put on display to demonstrate banned items TSA had to take in this year.

“A very serious situation is that 154 people a year to date have brought firearms to the federal checkpoint right here in Orlando,” Koshetz said.

Koshetz said in the state of Florida, more than 800 guns were caught at checkpoints.

It’s been a growing trend around the nation since 2010 with TSA breaking records this year for nearly 6,300 firearms caught through checkpoints.

The only dip in firearms flagged was in 2020 during the height of the COVID pandemic, but Koshetz said TSA is upping penalties to get results.

“Most people will say they forgot, well that’s not an excuse,” Koshetz said. “We will freeze the bag inside the X-ray machine and that individual will be interviewed by both us and Orlando police. The fine for the TSA has been raised to almost $15,000.”

Koshetz reminds people if you must travel with a firearm to notify the airline and keep it locked in a hard case. Ammo also must be secured and locked, and not within the firearm.

Besides firearms, TSA said they stop around 2,000 pounds per month of prohibited items.

“A typical rule to use is if you don’t want the passengers sitting next to you to have that item, then you should think about it and not bring that in your carry-on bag,” Koshetz said.

TSA also reminds people of the 3-1-1 rule, which is the mandate that requires all carry-on liquids to be in a 3.4-ounce container in a 1-quart bag, limited to one traveler.

“At a particular airport there can be a checkpoint that has different types of X-rays, so it is important for them to listen to the advisement of the person in front of that X-ray,” said Tashia Alford, who is a TSA supervisor at the Orlando International Airport.

TSA said while holiday travel continues to remember when in doubt, check in a potentially prohibited item or leave it at home.

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About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.