The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recovered more guns at airports across the country in 2019 than ever before in the agency’s history.
According to the TSA, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags or on passengers at checkpoints across the U.S. Of those, TSA says 87% were loaded.
“The continued increase in the number of firearms that travelers bring to airport checkpoints is deeply troubling,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said. “There is a proper way to travel safely with a firearm. First and foremost, it should be unloaded. Then it should be packed in a hard-sided locked case, taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared and checked.”
TSA recovered the most guns at these 10 airports:
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International — 323 firearms recovered
Dallas/Fort Worth International — 217 firearms recovered
Denver International — 140 firearms recovered
George Bush Intercontinental — 138 firearms recovered
Phoenix Sky Harbor International — 132 firearms recovered
Dallas Love Field — 103 firearms recovered
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport — 100 firearms recovered
Nashville International Airport — 97 firearms recovered
Orlando International Airport — 96 firearms recovered
Tampa International — 87 firearms recovered
Travelers who bring firearms to checkpoints could face criminal charges and federal civil penalties of up to $13,000. TSA says a typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100.
Passengers can travel with firearms in a checked bag if:
- They are unloaded
- Packed in a locked hard-sided case
- Ammunition is in its original box, even if the box is not full (it can be packed inside the hard case)
- Airline passengers need to declare firearms at the ticket counter while checking bags.
Click here for more information on travelling with a firearm.
Click here for a complete list of penalties if you are caught with a firearm by the TSA.