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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, February 10, 2018 1:00 am

At the boarding gate with weapons at ready

By airport

Firearms confiscated from carry-on bags at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints

Indianapolis: 48

Fort Wayne: 9

South Bend: 6

Evansville: 2

Hold those angry emails! The nuances of the Second Amendment are not on the menu today. Let's just stipulate that lots and lots of people are carrying guns these days. Many of them even have legal state permits.

Whether that's a good idea, whether it makes some of us safer or all of us more vulnerable, surely there's one thing we can all agree on: You don't try to take a firearm through an airport boarding checkpoint. Right?

Wrong. According to the Transportation Security Administration, a record 3,957 firearms, or 10.8 firearms per day, were discovered in carry-on baggage at airports across the country last year. That's a 16.7 percent increase over 2016. And (don't read these next two statistics if you are currently aboard an airplane):

• “3,324 (84 percent) of the total firearms discovered were loaded.”

• “1,378 (34.8 percent) of the total firearms discovered had a round chambered.”

Among other items confiscated by TSA screeners last year were flashbang and smoke grenades, several containers of gunpowder, a knife hidden in a deodorant container and “a realistic replica suicide vest and claymore mine,” which belonged to an explosives ordnance disposal contractor who used the vest as a training aid.

The TSA noted drily on its website, “Instructors needing to travel with inert explosives training aids should plan ahead and find another way to transport their training aids.”

To us, that is a display of admirable verbal restraint on the part of a sometimes-maligned government agency. What that web poster probably wanted to write was, “Precisely how dumb was this guy?”