TAMPA (FOX 13) - Tampa International Airport is finding itself close to the top of a not so prestigious list.
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), TIA ranks 6th in the nation, and first in the state of Florida, for most guns found in bags of airport passengers in 2017.
Americans have come to accept tight restrictions on what you can and can't bring through an airport checkpoint, but that's not stopping thousands of travelers from trying to pass loaded and unloaded guns past TSA officers.
“They claim they forgot the firearm was either on their person or in their bags,” said Federal Security Director of Greater Tampa Bay, Lee Kair.
Kair says TSA agents found 97 guns in luggage going through TSA checkpoints in 2017 - and 90 of those were loaded.
“You've got guns everywhere so I wouldn't think it'd be unusual,” said traveler Willie Clark.
“It is surprising I think they're doing as good of a job as they can,” said another traveler Todd Jones.
Kair says over the past five years the airport has seen numbers of guns found nearly tripled and he says it's not the bad guys trying to get them through. It's forgetful concealed weapon permit holders.
“I think a lot of this just has to do with the number of people that have concealed weapon permits in the state,” said Kair.
So what happens if you're caught, even accidentally, with a gun at a checkpoint?
“We're going to refer them over to law enforcement. We're going to open up a civil penalty case against them which could cost them up to $13,000,” said Kair.
Officials say signage throughout the airport leading to security checkpoints reminds passengers that firearms are not permitted in the terminals, but it's up to the traveler to heed the message.