TSA reports rise in guns at CHS checkpoints, thousands of pounds of prohibited items

TSA reports rise in guns at CHS checkpoints, thousands of pounds of prohibited items

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Despite the surge of wintry weather, Charleston International Airport (CHS) is seeing a record number of passengers.

Officials estimate more than 8600 daily travelers, with as many as 3.1 million in 2014.

Along with the increase, officials with the Travel Security Administration, or TSA, are also reporting a rise in the number of passengers who bring guns to airport security checkpoints.

According to TSA regional spokesman Mark Howell, more than 4000 travelers brought firearms to U.S. airports between 2013-14.

Howell says agents recovered nine guns at CHS during that same span.

"About 80 percent of the firearms we find at the checkpoint are loaded," he said.

That's why Howell, and other officials from the Travel Security Administration, have been traveling the country on a media blitz, reminding passengers of the do's and don'ts before clearing an airport security checkpoint.

Tuesday, CHS agents showcased some of the items left behind over the past several months, which included brass knuckles, kitchen knives, a power drill, and a grenade.

"The most common excuses we get are, 'I didn't know it was in the bag," Howell said.

According to TSA, CHS passengers abandon hundred of pounds of prohibited items each month, a number that would jump into the thousands, if all illegal liquids were included.

The agency suggests passengers check the official TSA website, www.tsa.gov, for a complete list of do's and don'ts.

Regional spokesman Mark Howell says passengers should also check their bag, and their person, before heading to an airport checkpoint.

"Take the 5-10 minutes before you come to the airport to really take stock of what you have with you," he said.

"People forget after a while."

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