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TSA warns travelers about bringing guns – and more – to Sky Harbor

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PHOENIX – Sixty-six firearms were confiscated at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in 2013, trailing only three other U.S. airports, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

In just the past week, Sky Harbor’s security checkpoints have taken away a stun gun, brass knuckles, toys and lighters shaped like hand grenades, a circular saw, a golf club, souvenir bats, a bowling pin and a slingshot.

“Passengers don’t have an excuse to not know. The information is out there,” TSA spokesman Nico Melendez at a news conference Tuesday.

Passengers need to do some research before coming to the airport, he said, adding that the rules that been in place since 9/11 are available at or through the My TSA mobile app.

“Illegal items like brass knuckles and guns and loaded guns are going to cause inconveniences for you, could cause you to miss your flight and most probably, open you up to a civil penalty from the TSA, which could be up to $11,000,” he said.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport topped the nation in 2013 with 111 confiscated firearms, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth International with 96 and George Bush Intercontinental Airport – Houston with 68.

This past year TSA discovered 1,813 firearms at 205 airport across the country. Nearly 1,500 were loaded.

“That’s almost five guns per day at airports around the country,” Melendez said.

The rate was two guns per day in 2003, he added.

Phoenix had the nation’s third-highest total in 2012 with 54 firearms confiscated. Nationally, TSA confiscated 1,525.

In January, TSA employees at Sky Harbor confiscated four firearms, some of which were loaded, Melendez said. This puts Phoenix on track for an estimated 48-50 firearms confiscated in 2014.