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TSA Found Record Number of Guns in Carry-Ons Last Year

The Transportation Security Administration discovered 6,542 firearms in carry-on bags in 2022, a new record. The weapons were found in security checks at 262 airports, the highest number of violations since the federal agency was founded in 2001. The agency said 88 percent of the guns were considered loaded, the Wall Street Journal reports. “I am incredibly proud of our dedicated TSA employees who perform the critical task of securing our nation’s transportation systems each day,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. The uptick in firearms found in carry-on bags comes as many travelers have returned since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Some 736 million passengers were screened through TSA checkpoints in 2022.


The agency has found upward of 4,000 firearms in carry-on bags each year since 2018—except for 2020, when that count fell to 3,257. The previous record was set in 2021, when officers discovered 5,972 firearms. The 2022 figures mark about a 10 perdent increase from 2021. TSA doesn’t allow travelers to bring firearms in carry-on bags, regardless of whether the traveler holds a permit to carry a concealed weapon. They are allowed in checked baggage if certain requirements are met. The agency plans to increase the maximum civil penalty for firearms violations to $14,950. Violators also lose eligibility for TSA PreCheck for up to five years, and could face arrest. Airports that recorded the highest number of incidents in 2022 include Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Nashville International Airport and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

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