ARLINGTON, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - Even though there are still far less people flying than before the pandemic, the number of guns turning up at checkpoints is sky-high.
At Reagan National Airport, in three separate incidents, people were stopped while trying to bring loaded weapons through security in their carry-on luggage.
The TSA director at Reagan said in a statement Wednesday that there is an epidemic of guns showing up at the airport and it’s happening in other airports across the country as well.
"That’s very alarming," one traveler told FOX 5. "With all the security they have I don’t know how they think that’s possible."
MORE FROM FOX 5: "Free Britney" rally held in DC ahead of court hearing
In a matter of hours, officers caught a Fredericksburg woman with a loaded handgun and magazine.
A Florida man with a loaded handgun, two magazines with 45 bullets and a knife and a Wisconsin man carrying a 9mm loaded with five bullets and one in the chamber. Three unrelated passengers, all with deadly weapons in their carry-ons.
"It is another disturbing trend," travel expert Troy Petenbrink said. "Flight attendants and such."
According to the TSA--even though half a billion fewer people were flying in 2020 due to the pandemic--nationwide, officers more than 3000 firearms. That’s double the number from 2019.
So far this year at Reagan, the number of guns confiscated has already surpassed totals for pre-pandemic years.
Petenbrink points out that unfortunately what’s not comforting is how many weapons may pass through undetected.
In 2017, Undercover Homeland Security investigators trying to sneak mock, guns and explosives past TSA were reportedly successful around third-quarters of the time.
"We also know that unfortunately, TSA has a history," Petenbrink said. "Some more funding some more oversight."
Some people have said they forgot they had their gun on them.
Keep in mind that even if you have a concealed carry permit, you’re looking at thousands of dollars in fines because that does not permit you to bring a firearm into the cabin of a plane.
Officials say you can travel with a legal gun as long as it’s unloaded and properly checked in a locked case and declared with the airline.