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TSA to gun owners: Stop bringing firearms to airports

A gun and bullets confiscated at a Chicago airport

CBS Chicago

CHICAGO - The TSA is warning about an alarming rise in the number of guns being confiscated at airports, and part of the problem is at Chicago's Midway Airport, reports CBS Chicago.

Last year, security screeners confiscated six firearms from gun-toting passengers at Midway. This year, they've already hauled in seven handguns, with nearly two-thirds of the year still to go, reports the station.

Federal authorities want all gun owners to review the rules and follow them.

"Probably the most common excuse is, 'I didn't know it was there,'" Kevin McCarthy of the Transportation Security Administration says.

At Midway and across the nation, more passengers are trying to board airplanes with firearms at their side, reports the station.

In 2005, 660 guns were confiscated nationwide. Last year, the number rose to 2,212 -- nearly a four-fold increase -- according to the station.

"I think there's a personal responsibility for any gun owner, that they ought be aware of the rules, where they can and can't take it," McCarthy says.

They cannot stow a gun in carry-on luggage, which is where the TSA usually finds the weapons. At Midway, in January, a .38-caliber revolver was recovered loaded with three bullets. In February, a .40-caliber Smith @ Wesson, and a .9-millimeter automatic were seized. Four more handguns were picked up in April -- all with ammo, three of them loaded.

The right way to travel with guns on airplanes, CBS Chicago reports, is to pack the weapon in a hard-sided lockable case; it must be in luggage that will be checked. Any ammunition must be in a separate container, reports the station.

By law, at the counter, you must declare there's a weapon in your bag, and you must fill out a form to certify it's not loaded.