WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Air travelers carried a record 2,212 firearms -- most loaded -- along with a variety of other weapons that included spear guns, bear mace and novelty bombs in carry-on bags at U.S. airports last year, the Department of Homeland Security said.
Transportation Security Administration officers found about six firearms per day in passenger carry-on bags and on passenger's bodies in 224 airports across the country in 2014. Of the 2,212 guns discovered, 83 percent were loaded. The TSA said the number of firearms discovered was a 22 percent increase over 2013's total of 1,813.
Among the top airports for firearms discoveries are Dallas/Fort Worth International (120), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (109), Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (78), Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (77) and Denver International Airport (70).
When TSA officers find firearms in carry-on bags, they work with local police to determine whether the gun is licensed and whether an arrest should be made. Travelers with licensed firearms are only permitted to put unloaded guns in checked bags.
In addition to the guns, TSA agents found an array of other weapons in carry-on bags, including a hand grenade at the Los Angeles International Airport, a fireworks-making kit at Chicago O'Hare International Airport and a knife concealed in an enchilada in California's Sonoma County Airport.
Officers also confiscated cocaine wrapped in raw meat, an unloaded cannon barrel, three spear guns and bear-attack deterrent.