BY LASHAY WESLEY MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12TH 2016
El Paso International Airport (Credit:KFOX14/CBS4)
EL PASO, Texas — TSA agents have discovered two firearms in the past two weeks at the El Paso International Airport security checkpoint, a TSA spokesperson told CBS4.
Firearms and ammunition are among the many items prohibited on a plane.
According to the TSA, the firearms were found on Sept. 1 and 9. The spokesperson said one of the weapons was loaded.
“We’re concerned that already this year, we’ve found seven firearms at ELP,” said Tim Berroyer, TSA federal security director for ELP, in a press release.
Carrie Harmon, a spokesperson for the TSA, said agents are starting to see an uptick at the airport.
“We’re running ahead of where we were at this time last year at El Paso,” Harmon said.
In 2014 and 2015, TSA agents found seven handguns at the security checkpoint.
“Most passengers say that they forgot that a firearm was in the bag or say it belongs to somebody else in the family and they didn’t know they had it with them,” Harmon said.
Harmon said the trend is nationwide. She said agents have seen a 20 percent increase from 2014 to 2015. She said 80percent of the firearms are loaded.
Firearms are allowed in checked baggage. Harmon said the traveler must declare they have a weapon to the airline and said it must be unloaded. The firearm must also be properly stored.
David Pineda was dropping his sister off at the airport Monday. He said he didn’t understand how someone could forget.
“I don’t know. Maybe it slips their mind. Maybe they’ve got a lot of stuff going on in their head,” Pineda said.
TSA does have signs warning passengers about the items prohibited.
Yland Moy said she thinks there could be more signs.
“I think they could add more because you can’t really tell until you get up (to security),” Moy said.Harmon told CBS4 that passengers can be fined $1,500 if a firearm is found in their carry-on. She said the fine can go up to $3,000 if the weapon is loaded.