Two handguns were confiscated from two different women in isolated incidents Tuesday at the Salt Lake City International Airport, the 23rd and 24th guns found at the airport so far this year.
Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said that number is up dramatically from last year, but wouldn’t speculate on why.
“The numbers are up and they are up drastically,” Dankers said. “It actually nears what we’re seeing nationally. Through June 30, more than 860 firearms were detected at the checkpoints, so we’re just seeing this more across the country, and Salt Lake City is fitting that trend.”
One woman was found with a Ruger pistol at about 5 a.m. Tuesday while escorting her minor children to the gate. Dankers said the woman was not planning to travel at the time.
The second woman, who had been ticketed to fly to Portland, Ore., was stopped at about 8:30 that night with a KelTec 380 pistol.
“I do think it’s safe to fly,” Dankers said. “I think that TSA officers work day in and day out. We screen nearly two million passengers to make sure that prohibited items aren’t on the plane. As you can see, our processes are working and people should have a confidence.”
Though their names were not made public, the two women were arrested on state charge of Possession of a Concealed Dangerous Weapon. Both may also be subject to a civil penalty of up to $7,500, but Dankers said the TSA will evaluate all incidents on a case-by-case basis.
Tavin Stucki is a senior in Utah State University's journalism program, and works as a news reporting intern at UPR. He lives for sports, and is the current editor in chief at The Utah Statesman.