Guns seizures rise at ATL, Congress questions how many go undetected

TSA checkpoint (Source: redjar / Creative Commons / MGN )

For the 20th consecutive year, Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport is holding its place as the world's busiest.

Combine that with its geography, and the next statistic shouldn't be a shocker.

A record 211 guns were flagged at Atlanta's TSA checkpoints so far this year. Already higher than all of 2016.

3,733 were flagged nationwide. ATL leads the nation, contributing to a national rise in the numbers too.

While industry analysts say the rising number of firearm seizures show TSA is doing their job: "The fact they are detecting more is a good sign," says aviation expert Seth Kaplan. There are serious questions over how many weapons might be getting through undetected.

Just this month it was revealed secret tests by the Department of Homeland Security at multiple airport checkpoints nationwide found, a failure rate of around 70 percent in detecting dangerous items on passengers or in their bags.

It was enough for heated hearings on Capitol Hill that blasted the TSA.

Meaning, of those 211 guns found in Atlanta, how many more made it through? After all, Atlanta is shuttling more than 100 million passengers a year. "The problem is, you always don't know what you don't know, right?," says Kaplan.

In defense of the TSA he says there is a caveat to those federal tests.

"The tests they fail; those tests are purposely very tricky. Someone with a shiny gun is gonna get detected more easily then in those tests," he says.

But what federal inspectors found; unless the item appears truly shiny so to speak; it may fall through the troubled TSA cracks and onto your next flight.

Copyright 2017 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Chief Investigative Reporter

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