CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - A man who was arrested for carrying a semi-automatic handgun in a carry-on bag at Gerald R. Ford International Airport told 24 Hour News 8 he "made a mistake."
TSA officers found the loaded Taurus Millennium .40 caliber handgun in the carry-on bag of a passenger at a security checkpoint around 6 a.m. Monday, they said.
The passenger, William Bennett, was arrested by airport police and the firearm was confiscated.
Bennett told 24 Hour News 8 it was an accident.
"When my bag was flagged in security, it dawned on me," he said. "When it happened, of course, it's kind of scary. And you're embarrassed and you feel foolish."
He spent a few hours in detention.
"I answered a lot of questions," Bennett said.
But Bennett said he was treated with respect by airport authorities and hopes others learn from his mistake.
He now faces a misdemeanor charge, but has not yet been arraigned. He will likely have to pay a fine.
"It was inadvertent. I'm not a terrorist or anything. And it was my fault," Bennett said. "I guess I should have not made a mistake."
His record is clean outside of this incident, 24 Hour News 8 found.
The TSA says that unloaded firearms are allowed in checked baggage as long as a passenger declares them and following safety procedures, but they are not allowed in carry-on bags.
The Kent County Prosecutor's Office told 24 Hour News 8 authorities have had four gun incidents at Ford Airport this year alone. Usually, the prosecutor's office said, the passengers just forgot about it and made a mistake.
The TSA tracks the occurrences and has seen a noticeable increase in people forgetting to leave the guns behind or check them properly.
In the last couple of years, instances of guns found in airports have doubled, according to the TSA.
In previous years, officials caught about 700 guns each year in airports across the country. Since 2010, the number has increased to around 1,400 instances per year, which averages out to around four guns found a day.
Some have suggested travelers have become more complacent as time since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks increases.
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