May 16 (UPI) -- In a single day earlier this month, the Transportation Security Administration seized more than two dozen firearms at 15 U.S. airports, a new record.
Twenty-six firearms were confiscated at airports on May 3, the TSA said. Twenty-one were loaded.
The record was set during the week of April 30-May 5, when screeners recovered 90 firearms at U.S. airports. Officials said 73 were loaded and 35 had a round chambered.
Those who fly with a firearm must follow a specific protocol or face penalties of up to $13,066. All firearms must be in checked luggage, unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container. Magazines and ammunition clips must also be boxed or included in a separate case.
"Checkpoint and checked baggage screening acts as a deterrent to keep those with ill will from attempting to cause catastrophic damage to an aircraft," the TSA said. "Our officers also regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, BB and pellet guns, airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, stun guns, small pocket knives and many other prohibited items too numerous to note."
TSA said seizing firearms and ammo at airports occurs often.
"Each time we find a dangerous item, the [security] line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested," the agency added.
Between Feb. 5 and 11, the TSA found 104 firearms in carry-on bags at U.S. airports, exceeding the previous weekly record of 96 from July 2017.
The TSA set a yearly record in 2017 for the number of firearms found in carry-on bags -- 3,957 at 239 airports, a 16.7 percent increase from 2016. Of those firearms, about 84 percent were loaded.