TV-6 Investigates: Guns Confiscated In Airports Nationwide - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

TV-6 Investigates: Guns Confiscated In Airports Nationwide

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A loaded gun found in a carry-on led to the arrest of one passenger at the Quad City International Airport.

The gun was in John Van Epps bag when TSA screeners spotted it in the x-ray machine.

Van Epps was on his way home to Georgia and holds a valid concealed weapons permit.

He was arrested and charged with unlawful use of weapons.

TSA screeners across the country find dangerous weapons in bags on a daily basis.

The agency's blog shows this week, agents picked up a knife and throwing star, an inert grenade, and an alarm clock designed to look like an explosive.

The TSA also regularly confiscates guns.

Agents picked up 50 this week, 43 were loaded.

411 guns have been taken from passengers so far this year, an average of 34 per week.

Passengers traveling through the QCA say the numbers are surprising.

"I don't know how you make a mistake by having a gun, it's just like, oh by the way so um, I don't know, but I'm glad that they are on top of things," says Ernie Saldivar.

He flies for work about three times a month. He's used to making sure there's nothing in his carry-on bag that would cause a problem. Ten years after 9/11 though, Saldivar says TSA shouldn't be confiscating this many guns.

That's real surprising, especially with 9/11, I'm old enough I was actually involved with United Airlines when that all occurred, that's remarkable and people's heads aren't there," says Saldivar.

The TSA says Moline agents last confiscated a gun over a year ago. Pepper spray, mace, and martial arts equipment are much more common in carry on bags. TSA agents will allow some items to be returned to a car, or given to a friend to take home. Deadly or dangerous objects though, like guns, are always confiscated.

"It's kind of scary just that people would have that many guns that they carry around with them that much," says Brad Heigh.

He's heading back home to Columbus, Ohio after spending a short spring break in Durant. He used to fly a lot, but now only flies about once a year.

"Because of all the regulations, now, that's probably why I don't fly anymore because of all the regulations, it's just easier to drive and just have a car when you get there and stuff," says Heigh.

He learned from his own mistake in the past. He tried to carry a lighter on board after the rules changed in 2001. He says he's very careful about packing his carry-ons and feels TSA does a good job.

"They recovered 50 firearms, so they're doing their job for the most part," says Heigh.

Guns may be brought onto planes in checked baggage only.

They must be declared to the airline in advance.

Illinois law allows prosecutors to charge a person with a class four felony for boarding a plane with a weapon.

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