Travelers at D/FW Airport increasingly found packing firearms

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by JASON WHITELY

kvue.com

Posted on October 27, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 10:52 AM

D/FW AIRPORT - Security screeners at TSA checkpoints have detected an increasing number of firearms at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in the last three weeks, according to a review of police reports by News 8.

"It's very significant," said Dr. Cedric Alexander, TSA Federal Security Director at D/FW Airport. "[Even] one weapon found is significant, because we have to make sure we're protecting the flying public."

In the last 10 days, TSA screeners have discovered five guns at D/FW Airport. So far this month, seven have turned up during X-rays of carry-on luggage.

Alexander credits two elements for all the discoveries.

"We really are recovering a lot of weapons," he said. "The technology we are seeing today that has been employed is playing a very, very important part. But I think one of the more significant pieces of the detections [that] are being made is really in our personnel."

The TSA said it has found several .38-calibers and some Glock 9mms this month.

Many of them belong to travelers with a concealed handgun licenses, Alexander said. Almost everyone tells police the same story -- that they forget their pistol in their carry-on luggage.

Screeners discovered more firearms at Terminal E than anywhere else, and most of those happen first thing in the morning. The reason why is a little harder to pinpoint.

Weapons like knives, batons, and pepper spray often result in a citation, according to official reports. But anyone caught with a gun at a checkpoint goes to jail.

The most recent record for firearm discoveries at D/FW Airport happened in 2010, when 66 guns were found. Last year, screeners detected 57.

But in the first ten months of this year, 56 firearms have already been found.

If the current trend continues over the next eight weeks, screeners will likely exceed last year's number of finds and get close to the 2010 figure.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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