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Two firearms found at Sea-Tac Airport screening 5 minutes apart

(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

TSA officers discovered two firearms in the carry-on screening area at Sea-Tac Airport within a five-minute period on Thursday morning.

A TSA officer saw the image of the first firearm on the X-ray screen around 4:10 a.m. Another officer discovered the second firearm just five minutes later in an adjacent screening lane.

Both male travelers were scheduled to board the same plane from Seattle to Phoenix Thursday morning. TSA says there’s no indication the incidents are linked.

“The discovery of two firearms in a five-minute period in a single airport in side-by-side screening lanes is extraordinary and unfortunate,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Washington Jeff Holmgren. “However, it underscores the message that TSA has doggedly been conveying to travelers: take note of the contents of your carry-on luggage prior to coming to the airport to ensure that you do not bring firearms or others prohibited items to the security checkpoint.”

The latest incidents are the 51st and 52nd firearm discoveries by TSA officers at Sea-Tac Airport in 2021. For perspective, agents found 70 guns over the course of 2019, and 81 in 2018.

Firearms are allowed on commercial aircraft, but only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case, declared to the airline, and placed in checked baggage. Ammunition and stun guns must also be checked.

TSA said it’s seen an increase, locally and nationwide, in the number of stun guns packed in carry-on luggage. Stun guns must be rendered inoperable from accidental discharge and placed in checked luggage.

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