More than three dozen guns were seized from passengers flying out of the three airports in the Baltimore-Washington region in 2014, a substantial increase over the previous year.
The Transportation Security Administration said Friday that it took 14 guns at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport in 2014, 14 at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and nine at Washington Dulles International Airport. In 2013, 27 guns were seized: 13 at BWI, six at Reagan and eight at Dulles.
The rise mirrored a national increase in the number of firearms taken from carry-on luggage at airports across the country last year, which rose from 1,813 in 2013 to 2,212 in 2014, or 22 percent, the TSA said.
Part of the increase likely has to do with a rise in passenger volume. In 2014, the TSA screened more than 653 million passengers, nearly 15 million more than in 2013, it said.
Locally, the picture is more mixed.
BWI officials predict the airport's 2014 passenger volume will be about the same or slightly below that in 2013, at 22.3 million.
At Reagan, where the number of discovered firearms more than doubled between 2013 and 2014, and at Dulles, where there was a slight uptick, passenger volume increased, though final figures were unavailable. Through November, traffic was up 1.4 percent at Reagan in 2014 and 1.7 percent at Dulles, according to Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority statistics.
At BWI, gun seizures came in a variety of forms and occurred sporadically throughout the year.
In November, a woman was arrested at BWI after security agents found a loaded .38-caliber pistol and more than a dozen loose bullets in her carry-on bag. In September, a man was arrested after a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun was found in his carry-on, loaded with eight rounds of ammunition. In August, two people were arrested in two days for attempting to take pistols through security in carry-on bags.
TSA officials said the "vast majority" of passengers found with guns at airport checkpoints across the country said they forgot the weapon was in their bag.
Nationally, the airport with the most firearms seized in 2014 was Dallas/Fort Worth International, where 120 guns were seized. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was second with 109.