ATLANTA -- The number of guns confiscated at airports across the United States is on the rise, the Transportation Security Administration says.
A record-setting 1,500 firearms were detected by security screeners in 2012, according to the agency. That number is up from about 1,300 in 2011. And nearly 85 percent of the weapons were loaded.
"It does concern us that this number is rising," said Lisa Farbstein, an agency spokeswoman. "But we will not speculate on the causes."
The agency allows passengers with proper permits to fly with guns that are unloaded and stored in hard-sided checked baggage. The police are called when weapons are found in carry-on luggage or on a passenger.
The world's busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport here, topped the list, with more than 100 guns confiscated in 2012, followed by 75 guns at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and 50 guns at Phoenix.
In the New York area, where firearm laws are stricter, the number of detected guns declined this year. Three guns were confiscated at La Guardia Airport, two at Newark Liberty International, and none at Kennedy International.
The most common type of confiscated gun was a .380 semiautomatic pistol. Airport officials also detected stun guns, grenades and rocket launchers.
From Dec. 14 to 21, the week after a school massacre in Newtown, Conn., there was a slight increase in weapons. Screeners caught 11 passengers with stun guns, 3 with grenades and 34 with guns.nation
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.