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Ft. Lauderdale Airport Tops All Florida Airports In Guns Seized

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(CBS4) Crowds gather at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport as folks try to leave South Florida and head north ahead of Hurricane Irene.

(CBS4) Crowds gather at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport as folks try to leave South Florida and head north ahead of Hurricane Irene.

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FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Guns, guns and more guns. For the second year in a row, the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport has intercepted more guns than any other airport in Florida. But no one is quite sure why.

The Broward County airport serves about 12 million departing passengers per year, which is less than Miami International or Orlando FInternational, officials said.

“No rhyme or reason for it,” said Transportation Security Administration spokesman Mark Howell, adding the matter is under study.

So far this year, the TSA has intercepted 38 guns at Fort Lauderdale in both checked luggage and at the checkpoint, reported the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. That compares to 35 in Orlando and 30 in Miami. The agency has caught 10 firearms at Palm Beach International Airport.

Howell noted other airports around the nation also exhibit inexplicable trends. For instance, last year 96 guns were caught in Atlanta, the most in the nation, which makes sense considering it’s the nation’s busiest airport. Yet at New York’s John F. Kennedy International, another bustling hub, only one gun was spotted the entire year.

In Fort Lauderdale, all of those caught with guns this year had concealed weapons permits. Their main excuse is they forgot a gun was in one of their bags. Most were state residents.

Ft. Lauderdale officials said they handle more repeat passengers than many other airports. And that may be part of the problem: That familiarity may make travelers lackadaisical about checking if they left a firearm in a carry-on.

“We have a lot of regulars who fly in and out every week,” airport spokesman Greg Meyer said. “But who knows why a passenger comes to the airport with a gun?”

Among the guns intercepted in Fort Lauderdale in just the past three weeks:
• A Glock 26, loaded with 10 rounds, was caught on Oct. 13.
• A 9mm Smith &Wesson loaded with 16 rounds was found on Oct. 11.
• A Glock 19 with five rounds was confiscated on Oct. 10.
• A .380 Ruger LCP loaded with five rounds was found on Oct. 7.

Most violators are charged with carrying a concealed weapon, a first-degree misdemeanor, and given a notice to appear in court. Most make their flights.

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