by: Scott MacFarlane Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Channel 9 learned at least 31 people have tried to bring a gun through Charlotte-Douglas Airport since the beginning of 2011.
The TSA stepped in before those people could step through.
In the most recent incident on June 26, a passenger tried to carry a loaded .380 through a Charlotte-Douglas security gate.
Soon after, Eyewitness News started digging and filed requests with Transportation Security Administration headquarters in Washington.
Channel 9 went through those reports and found a nearly 20 percent spike in the number of guns seized in the past year.
In June alone, the TSA stopped six guns at Charlotte-Douglas.
Eyewitness News compared Charlotte's numbers to similar sized airports, like Cincinnati and Las Vegas, and discovered only one gun was seized at each.
“All of the contents of your carry-on bag are going to be X-rayed. And, in nearly all of the instances we find firearms at checkpoints -- it's through X-rays,” said Jonathan Allen, a Charlotte TSA spokesman.
Eyewitness News was told that in each case, airport police were called.
Documents Channel 9 reviewed reveal the passenger then faced a fine from TSA.
After similar incidents at Atlanta's airport, Georgia prosecutors filed criminal charges against the gun-carrying passengers, too, including one whose husband said it was simply an accident.
“She simply forgot to take it out of her purse,” he said.
Eyewitness News brought the numbers to Capitol Hill, to a congressman who's been trying to shut down the TSA. It didn't change his mind.
“Thing is, a law-abiding citizen bringing a handgun on an airplane is not a danger,” Rep. Paul Broun said. “A terrorist with a handgun or a bomb is. We've gotta start focusing on the terrorists.”
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