A domestic dispute is being blamed for an incident in Providence where airport security screeners found a disassembled gun hidden inside stuffed animals.
The gun components were discovered Monday inside the toys of a 4-year-old boy who was traveling with his father to Detroit.
"The TSA says (a) .40 caliber gun was artfully concealed in different pieces in the three animals. The main frame was inside a bear. A magazine loaded with two .40 caliber rounds was inside a bunny, and a firing pin was inside Mickey Mouse," WHDH-TV of Boston reports on its website.
Rhode Island state police were called in to investigate the matter. "Officials seized the firearm, magazine and ammunition, and interviewed the father," according to NECN TV of Boston.
The unidentified man told the troopers that he had no idea how the gun made it into his son's stuffed animals. Despite the incident, the man and his son were eventually allowed to continue their travels.
"The officers were comfortable allowing the father and son to continue on their flight," TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis says to CBS This Morning. "He indicated that he was unaware that they (the gun parts) were there. ... The public was never in any danger."
A police spokesperson tells CBS This Morning authorities "believe this was related to an ongoing domestic dispute" in which the man's wife was trying to cause problems for her husband.
Police say they are continuing to investigate the incident.
As for the TSA, it cited the incident as a reason it must include children in airport screening.
"This is just another example that threats can appear anywhere, and this is why TSA officers take a closer look at everything," the agency says in a statement quoted by CNN. "It's also an example that shows that even though TSA has modified the screening process for children 12 and under, the security process is still just as effective."