Record 2,212 guns intercepted at US airports last year

Record 2,212 guns intercepted at US airports last year

Washington (AFP) - Inspectors at US airports found a record 2,212 guns, most of them loaded, in travellers' carry-on baggage in 2014, the Transportation Security Administration said Friday.

That's a 22 percent increase from the year before, and represents an average of more than six firearms intercepted every day.

More than 80 percent of the guns were loaded, the federal agency said in a statement. Last year the agency screened 653.5 million passengers and 1.7 billion carry-on bags.

Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, Houston and Denver led the list of 224 airports -- 19 more than 2013 -- where TSA inspectors stopped passengers from taking guns onto their flights.

Among the weapons seized was an assault rifle with three loaded magazines in Dallas and a loaded .38 caliber pistol on the hip of a 94-year-old man at New York's La Guardia airport.

Besides guns, TSA inspectors in 2014 also came across a hand grenade in Los Angeles -- a discovery that delayed five flights -- and six blocks of plastic explosives in Tampa, Florida.

They also uncovered an 8.5-inch (20 centimeter) knife inside an enchilada in Santa Rosa, California and razor blades hidden in a Scooby Doo greeting card in Newport News, Virginia.

Under federal law, anyone who tries to take a gun onto an airline flight as a carry-on item -- loaded or not -- can face criminal prosecution and a $10,000 fine.

Firearms can travel as checked baggage, so long as they are unloaded and safely packed in a locked container.