More travelers trying to carry on guns at Salt Lake International

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SALT LAKE CITY - A surprising story at Salt Lake International Airport: more people are trying to take guns through carry-on security there than any other airport in the nation.

No one knows why it's happening, but airport officials want it to stop.

This is a very dangerous situation. The fines are heavy, you can be charged criminally and civilly up to $10,000 and it's just dangerous.

–Barbara Gann, SLC airport spokeswoman

There were 22 cases last year alone, with 35 people arrested for firearms violations. There have already been seven incidents since the beginning of 2011.

"This is an alarming pattern," said Steve Marlovits, the airport's chief of police. "It's become a common event. The traveling public needs to focus on the fact that guns and weapons are not permitted beyond the security screening checkpoints. Loaded guns, in particular, pose a significant danger in an airport environment."

Security measures are strict and uniform across the nation, and airport officials are issuing a strong reminder to properly pack firearms if you are planning to travel with them.

"This is a very dangerous situation," said airport spokeswoman Barbara Gann. "The fines are heavy, you can be charged criminally and civilly up to $10,000, and it's just dangerous. For example, last year we had a skycap that was accidentally shot by a passenger that dropped a bag with a loaded gun in it."

Security officials say it's common for people to say they simply forgot they were carrying a weapon. But even with a valid weapons permit, a violation can result in jail time and up to $10,000 in penalties.

"You can never take a firearm in your carry-on bags," said Clark Aposhian, a Utah firearms safety instructor. "But there's a procedure to follow for transporting firearms in your checked luggage."

All firearms must be unloaded, properly packed in a hard-sided container and declared to the airline during the check-in process, airport officials said. More information about airline firearm and ammunition policies is available at


Written with contributions from Richard Piatt and Jared Page.


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