Airport officials confiscated a record number of guns from carry-on bags last week.
The Transportation Security Administration stopped passengers from bringing 73 firearms on board airplanes nationwide April 15 to 21, breaking the previous record of 68 set in October, Fox News reports.
“Unfortunately, these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent, which is why we talk about these finds,” TSA spokesman Bob Burns wrote in a blog post on the TSA website.
The agency reported that 68 of the firearms were loaded, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune, which first reported the findings. Of these, 27 had a round in the chamber.
Passengers are prohibited from traveling with guns in carry-on luggage, according to the TSA. According to federal law, firearms must be declared, unloaded, and locked in a hard-sided container, and may only be in checked bags.
The agency noted that many passengers the TSA stopped for trying to take prohibited items onto planes “simply forgot” they were carrying the items.
“Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions; that’s for the law enforcement officer to decide,” Burns wrote. “In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.”
Several airports – including Miami International Airport, Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport – reported recovering multiple weapons over the course of the week.
The agency said each week it confiscates “many other prohibited items too numerous to note,” including brass knuckles, stun guns and airsoft guns. The TSA noted that such incidents slow lines and can lead to hefty fines.
“Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested,” Burns wrote. “The passenger can face a penalty as high as $11,000.”
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