The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is trying to spread the word to Oklahomans about leaving guns at home.
TSA agents discovered loaded guns at Oklahoma airports twice this week at checkpoints, but it is not the first time that has happened this year. The agency said it is concerned with how often passengers are bringing loaded guns to airports in Oklahoma.
“It is becoming alarming,” explained Kevin Donovan, the Federal Security Director at Will Rogers World Airport. “We've had 35 per month being detected across the nation and we are seeing a bit of any uptick in Oklahoma.”
On Tuesday morning, TSA said it discovered a 9mm Glock 26 loaded with 10 rounds in a carry-on bag during checkpoint screening in Oklahoma City.
On Monday afternoon, TSA said it found a 9mm Beretta Nano loaded with six rounds during a checkpoint screening at Tulsa International Airport. Overall this year, TSA said that makes 14 guns found at Will Rogers and 10 found in Tulsa.
“Most of the time what we're hearing from passengers is that they forgot the firearm was in their carry-on. Our response to that is you ought to know where your firearm is,” said Donovan.
In both cases, local police took the weapons and questioned the passengers. Donovan said passengers will typically get their guns back from police, whether the passengers pick the guns up later or police allow them to store the weapons in their vehicle.
“We see it from all walks of life,” Donovan told News 9. “We've had a couple of female doctors who have brought firearms to the checkpoint and they simply said they forgot it was there.”
Nationwide, TSA said it has found more than 1,070 firearms at airport security checkpoints so far this year.
TSA agents in Oklahoma have not found anyone who intentionally tried to sneak a gun through security this year. No arrests were made in the incidents this week, but the TSA can impose a civil fine of up to $11,000 for bringing a gun to the checkpoint.
Criminal charges are left up to local police departments. Guns are not allowed in carry-ons. However, each airport and airline has different rules about guns in checked baggage, so passengers should check out the TSA's website at www.tsa.gov.