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TSA finds two loaded guns in carry-on bags at RSW

Finding weapons more often in carry-ons
Posted at 10:12 PM, Jun 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-13 07:00:54-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- TSA Agents at Southwest Florida International Airport discovered two loaded guns in two people's bags at a security checkpoint over the weekend.

Charles Clement, 50, from Lehigh Acres, was arrested on Saturday after agents detected a loaded revolver in his backpack. The TSA checkpoint had to immediately shut down operations. Lee County Port Authority said when asked if he had a gun in his bag, Clement said no, but he also told investigators he packed the bag himself.

"It doesn't feel good to think there's anybody with loaded equipment in their bag," Judy Corstad from Naples said.

Officials later determined Clement didn't have a license to carry the gun, and he was arrested for carrying the gun without a permit.

In the other case, the gun owner had a permit, so he wasn't arrested, but likely faces a civil fine from TSA.  "That goes to a maximum of $11,000 on the first offense. A very costly mistake," TSA Spokesperson Mark Howell said.

Howell said the costly mistake is on the rise.

"We're seeing more guns coming to checkpoints across the U.S. It's been about a 20-25% rise year-over-year," Howell said.

So far, RSW has caught 9 guns at TSA this year. They found 16 in 2016.

Howell said more guns and gun owners plus more people traveling, means more guns at airports.

"It's reassuring, knowing our security measures stopped these people from really bringing these guns and inflicting any harm," Jackson Monas from San Antonio said.

For information on how to pack a gun for travel, click here.