(CBS News) A routine search turned into a major security scare at T.F. Green International Airport in Providence, Rhode Island Monday.
While screening a passenger's carry-on bag, the Transportation Security Administration says, its agents found the hardware of a .40 caliber gun, a magazine loaded with two rounds of ammunition and a firing pin - all concealed within three stuffed animals, including a Mickey Mouse.
"The stuffed animals," says TSA spokesperson Ann Davis, "were contained in a carry-on bag, and the carry-on bag was going through normal screening procedures, being processed at the X-ray monitor."
The bag belonged to a four-year-old boy traveling with his father to Detroit.
TSA agents confiscated the items, but let the man and boy get on the plane.
"The officers were comfortable allowing the father and son to continue on their flight," Davis says. "He indicated that he was unaware that they (the gun parts) were there. ... The public was never in any danger."
Police believe neither father nor son knew they were carrying the weapon and, in a statement, a spokesperson said they "believe this was related to an ongoing domestic dispute." Police believe the wife was trying to cause trouble for her husband.
That said, some passengers weren't as forgiving.
"I think they dropped the ball by letting the fellow fly away," said one. "I really do."
The names of the pair haven't been released, but there is an investigation to try to figure out how the gun parts were stuffed into the toy animals.
Authorities say, if the pieces had made it through security and been assembled - there could have been a loaded gun on an airplane.To see Terrell Brown's report, click on the video in the player above.