TSA at Mitchell International sees spike in guns, asks people to double check their bags

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - TSA at the Mitchell International Airport is asking people to double check their bags after officers found 17 guns at the checkpoint so far this year.

Four of those guns have been caught in August. TSA spokesperson Frank Pipia says this spike is concerning. He said 10 guns were caught in 2020 and 16 were caught in 2019.

"So, we're already one over [from 2019] and we still have the rest of the year to go," Pipia said.

Officers caught a loaded firearm with five rounds on Sunday. Pipia said most of the passengers give the excuse they did not know or forgot it was in their bag.

"You don't know what's in your purse and there's a gun in there, it definitely does not exhibit a responsible gun owner to me," Pipia said.

A spokesperson for the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office said if the person is a concealed weapons permit holder they’re issued a municipal ordinance citation with a $767.50 fine for presenting a firearm at a checkpoint. If they are not a CCW permit holder, then they are arrested on a misdemeanor CCW violation charge.

TSA will also charge an offense of $4,100 dollars on the first offense.

"It's an expensive day for them," Pipia said.

Pipia believes the spike in guns could be from people forgetting after taking more than a year off of traveling.

"It's very scary, especially in today's world," Pipia said. "That's putting a lot of people at risk and you can't expect to take that on the plane, so it's really disheartening that people still continue to bring guns."

As for what happens to those guns, Pipia said the sheriff's office will either confiscate or return it to the owner, depending on the case.

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