TSA Found a Record 4,239 Guns, 3,656 Loaded, at Airports in 2018

Mae Love
February 10, 2019

According to the Transportation Security Administration's 2018 report, released Thursday, a record 4,239 total firearms were discovered in carry-on bags.

The release said passengers can "travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition".

Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Phoenix Sky Harbor were the top three airports where guns were confiscated in 2018.

In May, the TSA announced that it had set the new daily record for the most guns seized in a day with 26 at 15 airports throughout the country.

That 2018 tally included 21 guns at Logan International Airport, nine at Bradley International Airport in CT, four at T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island, four at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, four at Portland International Jetport, two at Burlington International Airport, and one at Worcester Regional Airport, according to the release.

Two Florida airports made the list of the top airports with guns found by TSA officers.

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TSA also noted that a record number of travelers passed through airports in 2018, with 813.8 million people going through security screening. "You don't just happen upon that... before you hit the first person in line... just take a quick look through your bag", he added.

The total number of firearms discovered at airport checkpoints has more than quadrupled over the last decade, climbing consistently year-over-year. TSA can impose civil penalties of up to $13,333 per violation, with higher penalties for repeat offenders. Agents seized 4,239 guns at over 200 airports across the United States.

As part of its efforts to strengthen security, the TSA has improved signage reminding passengers that guns can not be transported in carry-on baggage and offers detailed instructions for how to properly pack an unloaded firearm in one's checked luggage.

Still, though, some weapons have managed to slip through the cracks. The Atlanta airport was No. 1 in 2017, too, with 245 discoveries.

'I think that everybody in TSA is troubled by it, ' Pekoske said of the CBS finding. "We do everything we can to figure out why it happened".

Other prohibited items found in the nation's airports included smoke grenades, an inert hand grenade, lighter fluid, fireworks, and replica mortar shells.

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