A record-high 6,737 guns were discovered at airport security checkpoints in 2023, the Transportation Security Administration says. Some 93% of the guns were loaded. It was the highest annual total recorded by TSA in the agency's history, reports Axios. "We are still seeing far too many firearms at TSA checkpoints, and what's particularly concerning is the amount of them loaded, presenting an unnecessary risk to everyone," said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. Federal regulations bar airline passengers from traveling with a loaded gun or with an unloaded gun that's not declared to the airline ahead of time and properly stowed in a hard-sided, locked container.
Fliers caught with a gun at airport security can face civil penalties of up to $15,000. While TSA doesn't confiscate guns that are discovered, it does contact local law enforcement, which can take the gun away and arrest or cite the passenger, depending on local law. Last year's record-setting number of intercepted guns beat the previous record set in 2022, of 6,542 guns. It was the third consecutive year that a new record high of confiscated firearms at airport security was set.