(WJLA) - Liam Helmes is not only a frequent flier, but a longtime gun owner.
"I couldn't imagine accidentally putting my gun in my bag. I couldn't imagine, not in my experience," he says.
But an increasing number of people are doing just that – and getting stopped at airport security as a result.
The number of guns recovered at TSA checkpoints has been rising steadily since 2010. Last year, 1,828 firearms were recovered at checkpoints nationwide – up 20-percent from the previous year.
And the trend is continuing in to the new year, as these two guns were nabbed just yesterday at Reagan National Airport.
"The fact that we're finding a record number of handguns at checkpoints I think is a matter of education to remind people to check their bags before they come to the airport," says TSA administrator, John Pistole.
The heads of Homeland Security and the TSA addressed the numbers on Monday while announcing the opening of our area’s first TSA pre-check enrollment center.
What’s more alarming is that the vast majority – about 84-percent – of the guns recovered are loaded. Like this one we found in Rochester, New York this past weekend.
The news is all just a little too much for some passengers to handle.
"I don't know who is taking that gun with you -- it could be somebody dangerous or with mental issues," says Gabriel Jimenez.