TSA Agents Have Found Record Number of Firearms this Year

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TSA Record Number of Firearms

TSA Agents Have Found Record Number of Firearms this Year

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it has discovered a record number of firearms at airport security checkpoints this year.

TSA officers establishing a 20-year record with three months remaining in the calendar year and even fewer passengers traveling due to the pandemic.

Just through October 3rd, TSA officers had stopped 4,495 airline passengers from carrying firearms onto their flights, surpassing the previous record of 4,432 firearms caught at checkpoints in the full calendar year 2019. TSA officers discovered 11 firearms in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints per million passengers screened so far in 2021. That’s more than double the 5 firearms per million passengers discovered in 2019.

“The number of firearms that our TSA officers are stopping at airport checkpoints is alarming,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in the press release. “Firearms, particularly loaded firearms, introduce an unnecessary risk at checkpoints, have no place in the passenger cabin of an airplane, and represent a very costly mistake for the passengers who attempt to board a flight with them.”

Traveling with Firearms

Traveling with a firearm is not illegal. Passengers may travel with firearms in checked baggage when they are unloaded and packed in a locked, hard-sided case. The passenger must also declare and present the case with the firearm at the airline check-in counter. Firearms are transported with checked baggage and are placed in the cargo hold of the aircraft. Firearms are never permitted in the passenger cabin of an airplane.

There are also other issues to keep in mind. Firearm possession laws vary by state and local government. So the TSA advises that travelers should be informed about state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure. Specific airlines may also have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

When passengers bring firearms to airport checkpoints, TSA might assess a civil penalty. That penalty varies by number of previous offenses and whether the firearm was loaded at the time. TSA PreCheck members caught with a firearm at a TSA checkpoint may lose their expedited screening privileges for three years or more. You can see the full list of penalties here.

Based in NYC. Points/miles enthusiast for years and actively writing about it for the last 6+ years at Danny the Deal Guru. I'm always looking out for deals. Making a few bucks is always nice, but the traveling is by far the best part of this business.

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  1. Many people travel with guns in their luggage and some forget they have them in a bag in the rush to the airport. I’ve almost done the same thing before. I think airports should have a gun check in counter which would remind people but mainly not leave them unprotected between home and the airport. It would also reduce the number of guns left in parked cars at the airport which could be stolen by criminals. I wonder how many anti-second amendment folks would feel if they knew how many guns travel on planes where the TSA missed them at security. I also wonder if toy guns found by the TSA end up in these stats. Most people don’t know that a variety of law enforcement officers are allowed to fly with guns as well.

  2. I too find this “alarming”. The problem is that penalties are insufficiently severe right now to ensure more compliance and powerful people are not required to abide by the current penalties. The good news is that reducing cases could be done quite easily by putting anyone trying to board with a firearm on a Lifetime No-Fly List and requiring a minimum one year prison sentence. If these measures were enacted and zero exceptions permitted, the number of incidences would drop immediately and dramatically.

    • That is one out of 100000 people… and all of those have been done by accident! At least in Texas oh, they can’t arrest you and you can return it to your car. The same in Alaska. So the next time you take super glue onto an airplane, or epoxy, or a pair of pliers, or a screwdriver, or your Clorox bleach pen, you were committing almost the same offense it’s subject to a $5,000 civil fine. Go Google about the guy that accidentally brought pool repair epoxy onto the plane via his checked luggage. Why are people caring more Firearms accidentally through checkpoints? They’re not doing it intentionally, they are doing it because through defunding the police and other things, they feel they need to protect themselves. As a police officer oh, I will tell you they are correct.

  3. This absolutely baffles me! Why in the HELL would anyone take a gun to the airport? By now how can there be anyone that does not know this is Not A Good Thing?

    Seriously, can anyone explain this? It is way too big a number of guns for people to have “forgotten” them in their bags or whatever.

    People are crazy!


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