PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The TSA reports an alarming increase in the number of guns being confiscated at airports, including here in Philadelphia. The message TSA officials want to get out there, is you can never travel with a loaded firearm in your handbag, backpack, or carryon luggage.

You have to check it with your luggage and there’s protocol. That firearm has to be unloaded, in a lockbox, with the ammunition in it’s original box, and that lockbox should be locked with a key.

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Security officials at PHL said a record amount of guns passed through the airport last year. In 2021, 39 firearms were recovered at screening checkpoints at PHL

With more than 8 million passengers screened, that may seem insignificant.

But when you compare it to 2019 — before the pandemic where over 12 million people were screened — and only 22 firearms recovered, that’s nearly double the amount of guns.

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The trend continues. In January 2022, five guns were screened at TSA. Officials cannot stress enough, any firearm must be transported in the belly of the plane – not in the cabin where someone will have access to it.

Even if it’s an honest mistake, it’ll be quite an expensive one.

“You could potentially face criminal penalties and then on top of that, you’re looking at civil penalties that start at $2000 and can go up from there depending on the circumstances, whether the firearm was loaded, unloaded, what your intent was,” Gerardo Spero, Federal Security Director of TSA Philadelphia.

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Keep in mind, declaring a firearm is important. If you do the right thing and pack it in your suitcase, but forget to declare it at check-in, you could still incur penalties once it’s spotted.