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RST travelers react to surge in national gun confiscation by TSA

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)-- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it's seen a record number of firearms in the airports across the U.S.

  • 4,495 people have been caught with guns at security checkpoints, as of Oct. 3.
  • In 2020, there were 3,257, however, fewer people were traveling because of the pandemic.
  • In 2019, there were 4,432.

TSA said at the Rochester International Airport (RST), or Mason City Airport (MCW), it has not confiscated firearms.

Some RST travelers expressed their concern for the surge of people bringing firearms into airports.

"It's worrisome that more and more people seem to be thinking that it's okay to bring firearms," said Marcia Kendrick.

"It's concerning. I don't know if it's a question of education that people don't understand they can't bring that. Or if it's just a move towards a more violent society," said Katie Valfer.

While other passengers aren't worried.

"The rules are you can't fly with firearms. I doesn't seem like a big deal to me," said Roger Ellingson. "I guess I'm not really concerned."

Rob Doar, vice president, and political director for the Minnesota Gun Owner's Caucus said travelers shouldn't be concerned.

"I think when you look at the individual instances of this happening. It's almost always an oversight. You know, somebody maybe didn't realize that they couldn't carry into that part of the building. That, you know, they have a valid permit to carry a concealed carry license and they just made a mistake believing that they were able to carry in there. So, you know, it's an oversight that way or sometimes, you know, somebody, you know, thought that they put it in their glove box or they locked it in their safe," he said.

Valfer doesn't believe that someone could forget they had a firearm.

"I'm not a gun owner but I can't imagine not knowing that you have a gun on you," she said.

If someone wants to travel with a firearm, there are specific rules TSA requires people to follow.

"So generally, airlines can have some different slightly different policies. But generally what you do is when you check-in, you inform (security) that you have a firearm. They bring you into a separate area where TSA, will check your firearm to make sure that it's unloaded, and that it's locked in the case. You're allowed to bring two boxes of ammunition and their original packaging," Doar said. "It's a relatively painless process."

Travelers who violate prohibited items rules could pay a fine of up to $13,910.

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KaMaria Braye

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