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Gun parts, ammo found hidden inside stuffed animals at Rhode Island airport

Federal transportation officials found gun components and ammunition hidden inside three stuffed animals carried by a passenger at Rhode Island's T.F. Green Airport. WHDH-TV's Victoria Warren reports.

Story updated at 12:45 p.m. ET -- Gun components and ammunition were found hidden inside three stuffed animals carried by a passenger at Rhode Island's T.F. Green Airport on Tuesday, federal transportation officials said.

Authorities later allowed the 4-year-old boy and his father to continue their travel to Detroit after concluding the man didn't pose a risk, authorities said. The man, who's identity has not been released, told police that he didn't know the parts were inside the stuffed toys -- which included a Mickey Mouse and a teddy bear.

"After extensively interviewing the father and conducting the follow-up investigation, it was determined that this case involved a domestic custody dispute, and there was no threat to aviation safety," Patty Goldstein, spokesperson for Rhode Island Airport Corporation, said in a statement obtained by msnbc.com.

The case is being investigated by the Rhode Island Airport Police, FBI and Rhode Island State Police, the statement said. 

NBC News station WHDH reported that a magazine loaded with two .40-caliber rounds was discovered inside a bunny and a firing pin was inside Mickey Mouse.

A TSA officer noticed the disassembled gun components "artfully concealed" inside three stuffed animals. The stuffed animals were inside the child's carry-on bag, which had been put through an X-ray machine as part of normal security screening.

TSA via AP

This photo provided by the Transportation Security Administration shows pistol parts hidden in a stuffed animal found at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I.

The parts could have been assembled to make a full firearm, authorities said.

The items were confiscated. 

Passengers at T.F. Green had mixed reactions, WHDH reported.

“I just can’t imagine anybody letting him continue on his trip without getting answers to the questions: What was he thinking? Why was he doing that? And for the officials to sit back and say, ‘Could he have posed a danger?’ And if he could, why are we letting him move on to potentially do it again?” one man said.

Another traveler said security measures are clearly working.

"I know a lot of people don't like the screening procedure, but I'm thankful that they really screen people and we feel much safer because of it," the woman told WHDH.

NBC News station WHDH and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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