TSA says 86 guns found at Orlando airport in 2016

Orlando International ranked as sixth-worst airport in US

By Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Nearly 90 guns were found at security checkpoints at Orlando International Airport in 2016, the Transportation Security Administration said.

TSA said 86 guns, most of which were loaded, were discovered last year at OIA -- an increase of more than 75 percent from 2015.

Monday afternoon, the TSA director at OIA showed News 6 anchor Erik von Ancken thousands of weapons - knives, brass knuckles, swords, razor blades, nun-chucks - that were also confiscated last year.

"One of the things we need help with is letting people know what they can bring through and what they can't," TSA director Jerry Henderson said. "One of things is what looks like a hand grenade (but was a perfume bottle) is a really bad idea."

In 2016, TSA agents confiscated 15,000 pounds of items that were either weapons or could be used as weapons - like power tools, clubs, box cutters, and plastic knives, Henderson said.

"Basically anything that can be used as a weapon inside that aircraft are prohibited from going through," Henderson said.

More than 350 passengers were stopped across Florida and 3,391 nationwide last year because of improperly stored guns. 

Six guns were found in travelers' bags at OIA in January of this year, the TSA said.

Henderson said last week, a passenger attempted to bring a handgun wrapped in aluminum foil through a security checkpoint and onto a flight headed for the Dominican Republic.

[Watch below: Weird items the TSA confiscated]

Most passengers just forget their weapons are in their bags, but Henderson said some people attempt to smuggle the weapons through security and onto the plane.

Florida ATF agents have called Orlando the epicenter of gun running because of the flow of weapons out of Florida and out of the country via Florida's highways, seaports, and airports.

ATF's special-agent-in-charge of the Tampa field office said 19,000 guns were traced to crimes in Florida in just the past year.

Orlando International Airport does allow passengers to put prohibited items (but not guns) back in their vehicles if possible, or mail them before they pass through the checkpoint. Guns are confiscated and Orlando police are called when a passenger is found with one.

"First of all, we're going to notify law enforcement, they're going to make the determination if it violates laws or not," said Henderson. "Chances are you're going to miss your flight and if they determine there's some criminal intent, you could be arrested."

Someone caught trying to carry a gun onto a plane could face fines up to $11,000.

The top five airports, in order, were Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston), Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Denver International Airport. OIA was No. 6.

TSA officials said the agency is trying to do a better job of reminding passengers to properly store their guns.

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