TSA Breaks Record For Highest Number of Firearms Detected at Airport Checkpoints
In 2019, TSA officers detected 4,432 firearms in carry-on baggage or on passengers, breaking the record set in 2018.
- By Haley Samsel
- Feb 03, 2020
TSA officers discovered a record number of firearms at checkpoints nationwide in 2019, the agency announced last month. Overall, 4,432 firearms were detected in carry-on bags or on passengers, averaging about 12.1 firearms per day, according to the agency’s report.
The number of firearms amounted to an approximately 5 percent increase over 2018, when 4,239 firearms were detected. Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to criminal charges from law enforcement and potential civil penalties from the TSA.
“The continued increase in the number of firearms that travelers bring to airport checkpoints is deeply troubling,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement. “There is a proper way to travel safely with a firearm.”
Passengers must pack their unloaded firearm in a hard-sided locked case in checked baggage and take it to the airline check-in counter to declare it, according to Pekoske.
The top five airports for firearms detection were Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (323); Dallas Fort Worth International (217); Denver International (140); George Bush Intercontinental in Houston (138); and Phoenix Sky Harbor International (132).
Last year, a Bloomberg News analysis found that the number of guns confiscated by agents increased by 92 percent between 2014 and 2018. In addition, the 10 major airports with the highest gun seizure rates per passenger screened were in states with concealed carry lars or where state officials are required to issue permits to all law-abiding residents.
“Assuming that all those people who are caught with a firearm aren’t terrorists, that’s a huge distraction from the mission of TSA to keep terrorists off planes,” John Pistole, a former TSA administrator and current president of Anderson University in Indiana, told Bloomberg.
The report found that 87 percent of the firearms detected on travelers or their carry-on luggage were loaded. Firearms were discovered in 278 airports across the country.
Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.