The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects to set a new record in guns — most of them loaded — seized at security checkpoints at US airports.

The Washington Examiner reports that TSA has already confiscated 3,053 firearms either being carried by travellers or placed in carry-on luggage as of October 10. That puts the agency on track to seize 3,937 guns this year, exceeding the total of 3,391 weapons confiscated by TSA agents in 2016.

Last year, 83 per cent of the guns seized by TSA were loaded.

A TSA spokesperson said the reasons for the increase are unclear, but noted that the number of total passengers flying has increased from year to year, as well. An average of about two million passengers transit through TSA security checkpoints each day.

Forgetfulness, not malice, is behind most seizures, a TSA official said.

“The number-one excuse that people give us for why they have their gun with them at a checkpoint is that they forgot that they had their gun with them.

“The second-most common excuse is that their husband or wife packed their bag. Neither of those excuses fly,” said TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein.