Crime - Sacto 911

Number of firearms in carry-on soar, but Sacramento International Airport has comparatively few

A record number of firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at the nation’s airports in 2016, but Sacramento International trailed in the number of guns confiscated by TSA employees.

A total of 3,391 firearms were found in carry-on bags at U.S. airports in 2016. That is a 28 percent increase in firearm discoveries over 2015.

The firearms were discovered at 238 airports, two more than in 2015. The vast majority of the firearms were loaded.

The Top10 airports with firearms discoveries were dominated by cities in the South or Southwest. The top spot went to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport with 198 firearms discovered last year.

A total of 16 guns were found at Sacramento’s airport in 2016, low on the list, according to Nico Melendez, spokesman for the federal Transportation Security Administration.

Melendez said all kinds of prohibited items – knives, saws, blades, dumbbells – were found last year in carry-on bags.

“We don't maintain a log, but those items have definitively been recovered,” he said in an e-mail.

One odd find at Sacramento International occurred in February when TSA officers discovered what appeared to be a grenade. On closer inspection, the object was determined to be a replica grenade tobacco grinder. A small amount of marijuana was detected.

A big problem with replica grenades is that because they appear realistic, they can snarl lines as TSA explosives experts examine the items. Calling in the experts can lead to closed terminals and checkpoints, resulting in delayed or canceled flights, according to the TSA.

The TSA noted that travelers at the nation’s airports sometime try to hide items that could be used to a hijack a plane. TSA officers frequently find sword canes, belt buckle knives and knives hidden in shoes.

Last year, TSA officers found a knife hidden in a pill bottle, a lipstick stun gun, a lipstick knife and a sharp throwing star hidden in a cellphone case.

TSA maintains an online tool that allows the traveler to enter the name of an item to see if it can be packed in carry-on or checked bag. There’s also a prohibited items list.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

On the list

The top 10 airports for firearms discoveries at TSA checkpoints in 2016:

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: 198

Dallas/Fort Worth International: 192

George Bush Intercontinental Airport - Houston: 128

Phoenix Sky Harbor International: 101

Denver International: 98

Orlando International Airport: 86

Nashville International: 80

Tampa International: 79

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport: 78

Salt Lake City International: 75

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