By Hugo Martin
10:00 AM PST, December 30, 2012
The variety and quantity of firearms discovered at the nation’s airports continued to grow in 2012.
As of Nov. 30, the Transportation Security Administration had uncovered about 1,500 firearms in carry-on bags and in the clothes of would-be passengers in 2012. That’s an increase of about 14% over the 1,320 weapons discovered by the TSA last year.
The rise could partly be because of an increase in the number of air passengers. In the first nine months of the year, the number of passengers flying on U.S.-based carriers grew by 1.3% over the same period in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
The higher gun count could also mean that TSA officers are doing a better job of screening passengers, said TSA spokesman David Castelveter. “I’d like to believe we are being more vigilant in intercepting weapons as well,” he said.
The TSA does not arrest passengers with guns, alerting local law enforcement instead. With few exceptions, passengers are banned from carrying firearms and other weapons into the cabin of a commercial plane.
The rising firearm trend extended to most Southern California airports.
At Los Angeles International Airport, TSA agents discovered 15 guns so far this year, up from 11 in 2011, Castelveter said.
The only local airport that has show a decline in uncovered firearms was Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, where five weapons have been discovered so far in 2012, down from eight last year.
Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin
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