With hundreds of guns turning up at airport security, TSA working to educate passengers about firearm travel rules

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. = The Transportation Security Administration is trying to raise awareness among passengers about the proper way to fly with firearms.

Already this year, 12 guns have been found by security at Huntsville International Airport. That's compared to two in all of 2015.

The increase seems to be part of a rising trend taking place at airports across the country.

TSA officials say passengers should never attempt to bring their firearms in their carry-on luggage.

According to the agency, "firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and transported in checked baggage. Ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are also prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be checked with the airline."

If you plan to take a firearm with you on your travels, you should go to the airline ticket counter to declare it. You'll receive a form to fill out which should go back into the locked case.

It's also a good idea to place a business card or other identifying information on the outside of the case.

Another tip from TSA Regional Spokesperson Mark Howell? Wait in the ticketing area until you are sure there are no issues with the way you have packed the firearm and/or ammunition.

If you've already cleared security, you'll be called to come back to ticketing to remedy the problem.

Bottom line, traveling with firearms is permitted but a little research before your trip could save you an airport delay and worse.

If caught with a firearm at security, you could face criminal charges and civil penalties, up to $13,000.

Check out what the TSA has to say about proper firearm packing here or watch this TSA video.