TSA: More people packing firearms in their carry-on bags at KCI

Number of firearms found at KCI on the rise
Number of firearms found at KCI on the rise
Posted at 4:41 PM, Dec 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-20 18:33:37-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Every month at Kansas City International Airport, about 500 pounds of prohibited carry-on items are surrendered by passengers.

"Some hidden things. We've got a hairbrush that has a little shiv on the inside," Mark Howell, a TSA spokesperson said while conducting a demonstration Wednesday.

Other banned items include liquids larger than 3 ounces, items of self-defense, kitchen tools and inert grenades.

As passengers navigate through security, their moves are monitored from an undisclosed room at the airport.

Missouri's Federal Security Director for the TSA, Jim Spriggs, told 41 Action News the coordination center isn't only responsible for KCI but also a number of small airports around the state.

This year, they're seeing an uptick involving weapons.

"We have a lot of passengers who forget they're carrying guns and they inadvertently bring them into the screening checkpoint," Spriggs said.

During our visit Wednesday, 41 Action News learned two passengers did just that hours earlier.

RELATED: Tips to get through KCI security with no hassle

A TSA officer at a Terminal B checkpoint found two firearms, one at 6:30 a.m. and another shortly after 8 a.m., bringing the total tally to 66 this year of weapons discovered at KCI — compared to only 41 last year."

Once a firearm is found, that checkpoint is placed on lockdown.

"Our officers keep control of the bag and notify law enforcement so the airport law enforcement team will come over and investigate the circumstances and make a decision about what to do with the customer," Spriggs said.

Long lines are frustrating to some passengers but they could be giving TSA the opportunity thwart a potential threat.

"Clearly the threat has changed over the years so they're always watching that threat as it evolves," Spriggs said.