Armstrong Airport passengers try to board with guns, knives, explosives

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Even as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it's enhancing aviation security for commercial flights bound for certain foreign airports,  some passengers are caught trying to board planes at Armstrong International Airport with guns, knives, and explosives.

It is an ongoing issue, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

On Oct. 31, Metrojet Flight 9268 went down in the Sinai Peninsula, and while the investigation continues, it is suspected that a bomb may have caused the crash.

"It really kind of makes you feel not safe sometimes, but I mean, I guess they're trying their best to keep us safe once we hit the plane," said Kerry Ann Hall as she waited for a flight at the New Orleans airport.

Dwayne Bergeron of Houma waited to fly Gibraltar.

"I'm sure it's on everybody's mind," Bergeron said.

On Friday, TSA showed the media a cache of items seized by agents from passengers at airline checkpoints. A gun was seized Friday morning and another earlier in the week.

"If you bring a loaded weapon to the checkpoint, you face criminal penalties and civil penalties from the TSA of up to $11,000. It's a very serious offense," TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said.

So far this year, 28 guns have been seized at checkpoints at the airport - 27 of them were loaded.

"People often fling their bags onto the X-ray belt, and most of those guns are loaded and that can be very tragic," Koshetz said.

Grenades show up a lot, as well.

"One item that does cause a problem around the country is grenades, or replica grenades, so even if you have your explosives removed from that grenade, you may not have the grenade on the plane with you, and that goes for carried on and checked," Koshetz said.

Another of the items seized by TSA was a walking cane which, when the handle was removed, revealed a point sword.

"I would be terrified. I'd think that that was never allowed for them to bring in knives and guns to an airport, right?" Hall said.

"Nothing surprises me anymore," Bergeron said.

Even with the new terror concerns abroad, some travelers vowed to keep flying, putting their faith in security agents.

"Hopefully, nothing gets on there and we all fly safe and we all get where we're supposed to go," said Brian Conigliaro.

The TSA said 14,000 pounds of hazardous materials including caustic, flammable and explosive chemicals were seized at the local airport. Travelers boarding planes at Armstrong also leave behind a wealth of items - 8,000 so far this year - including hundreds of laptops, cell phones and eyeglasses.

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