In the Transportation Security Administration’s 18-year history, more weapons were confiscated from airports in the United States than ever before last year, the agency reported on Wednesday.
The 4,432 firearms found in hand luggage and checked bags at TSA airport checkpoints represent an increase of approximately 5% from 4,239 in 2018 – and 87% of firearms found last year were loaded.
“The continuing increase in the number of firearms that carry travelers to airport checkpoints is extremely worrying,” said David Pekoske, the TSA administrator, in a press release.
“There is a good way to travel safely with a firearm. First of all, it should be unloaded. Then it should be packed in a tightly closed suitcase, taken to the airline check-in desk and registered there. “
With 323, the TSA discovered the most firearms at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, followed by Dallas / Fort Worth International (217). Denver International (140); George Bush Intercontinental in Houston (138); and Phoenix Sky Harbor International (132). Firearms were found at 278 airport checkpoints nationwide.
Travelers attempting to bring weapons through TSA security are subject to local and state laws, which can result in arrests and civil sanctions.
The TSA can also impose fines of up to $ 13,333 and deprive TSA PreCheck travelers of their status. (The average fine for a first offense is $ 2,400 for a loaded weapon and $ 3,000 to $ 4,000 for a loaded weapon.)
While travelers, even with approval, cannot take weapons on a plane, properly authorized gun owners can travel with their firearms in checked baggage if they follow the guidelines of TSA and the airline. Even if you fly legally with your weapon, you are subject to local and state weapon laws wherever you land.
No wrong weapons
The TSA doesn’t allow real weapons or replicas – they even rejected a grenade-shaped purse – because they don’t want your flight crew to be surprised at this toy gun or grenade.
Despite rumors to the contrary, the TSA does not actually keep confiscated weapons, TSA spokesman Mark Howell told CNN in December. Loaded weapons are handed over to local law enforcement agencies (and in some cases, criminals).
If in doubt, check the TSA website.