(NECN) - TSA security officers at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I. found and confiscated a disassembled gun and ammunition hidden in three stuffed animals during the screening process at the TSA security checkpoint on Monday.
The firearm and ammunition were hidden inside three stuffed animals in the carry-on bag of a child who was traveling with his father, officials say.
Rhode Island Airport Police say they then conducted a search of the child's carry-on, where they found the items that caught a TSA officer's attention: the main frame of a .40 caliber gun inside one toy, a magazine loaded with two .40 caliber rounds and firing pin inside a second stuffed animal and a slide release lever inside a third stuffed animal.
Officials seized the firearm, magazine and ammunition, and interviewed the father.
The father and son were allowed to continue on their flight from Providence to Detroit on Pinnacle 4036, and TSA officials say the matter remains under investigation.
TSA Spokeswoman Ann Davis says that in 2011 alone, more than 1,200 firearms were detected in checkpoints around the country, and that the federal agency continues to try educating customers about screenings in an effort to deal with this problem.