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(NECN: Jennifer Eagan, Warwick, R.I.) - TSA officials say the .40 caliber weapon, bullets and other gun parts were artfully packed inside three stuffed animals.
A man traveling with his 4-year-old son from T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I. to Detroit on Monday was stopped at a security checkpoint.
The gun and bullets were confiscated, and after being interviewed by police at T.F. Green, the father and son were allowed on their way.
"It was determined there was no threat to air safety at any time," said Chief Leo Messier, Rhode Island Airport Police.
The man, who hasn't been identified, told law enforcement officials he was unaware the firearm was stuffed in his son's carry on. Sources tell NECN that the man told law enforcement officials he believes the boy's mother put it there.
"It appears to be the result of a domestic dispute," Chief Messier said.
People traveling through T.F. Green praised TSA screeners for spotting the weapon. A TSA spokesperson says in 2011, more than 1,200 firearms were caught at airport security checkpoints across the country.
A person can travel with a firearm as long as they follow federal guidelines.
"If an individual would like to travel with a firearm, they can provided they declare it to their airline and pack it in a checked bag in a locked box and the firearm needs to be unloaded," said Ann Davis, TSA spokesperson.