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The number of firearms intercepted at the Colorado Springs Airport last year decreased by 67% from the year prior, bucking a trend of steadily increasing interceptions at U.S. airports over the past decade.

Four firearms were intercepted at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at the Colorado Springs Airport last year. That’s down from 2018, when 12 were intercepted, and the year before that, with nine intercepted, according to data provided to The Gazette by the agency.

In contrast, security officials discovered 140 guns in carry-on bags at Denver International Airport last year, with the airport ranking third nationally in guns intercepted at checkpoints.

The Transportation Security Administration last week said the 4,432 firearms confiscated nationwide in 2019 represented a 5% increase from 2018. Nearly 90% of those guns were loaded.

Nationally, gun interceptions rose more than 450% between 2009 and 2019.

“There is a proper way to travel safely with a firearm,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “First and foremost, it should be unloaded. Then it should be packed in a hard-sided locked case, taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared, and checked.”

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Only airports in Atlanta and Dallas/Fort Worth had higher confiscation numbers in 2019 than Denver, with 323 and 217, respectively.

People who bring firearms to a TSA checkpoint, even with a permit, are subject to criminal charges and civil penalties.

The most high-profile violation in Colorado in recent years came in December 2017, when state Rep. Lori Saine, R-Dacono, brought a loaded semi-automatic handgun to a DIA checkpoint.

Police arrested her, and she spent the night in the Denver jail.

The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office, which investigated the incident, did not file charges.

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