More Guns Than Ever Are Being Confiscated at Airports in the USA

going through airport security with a quart size bag
Image Credit: AzmanL/Getty Images via

In alarming news reported by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), more guns than ever are being taken away from people at airports in the US. Last year was a record year for guns found at security checkpoints in the US, but the TSA predicts that 2023 will be even worse.

The warning comes after an assault rifle, and 163 rounds of ammunition were taken off a man on Valentine’s Day. The incident occurred at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport with the passenger attempting to board a flight to Houston with the weapon and gun as part of his carry-on luggage. The man in question could now face a fine of up to $15,000.

However, the latest incident isn’t surprising when you look at recent trends. In 2022, 6,542 guns were found at airport security checkpoints across the US, with Seattle, Washington, and Indianapolis having the highest rates. An incredible 88% of these guns were loaded with ammunition.

Every year since 2010, the TSA has intercepted more firearms than the previous year, with the exception of 2020. The reason for the dip that year can be easily explained by the coronavirus pandemic. Based on the number of interceptions so far this year, 2023 will once again set a new record.

Related: Western Europe Sees Surge in Tourism Since the COVID-19 Pandemic

Disturbing Developments

Security officials in airports in Indianapolis, Seattle, and Nebraska have so far enjoyed a particularly busy start to 2023, with gun confiscations significantly up in all three areas compared to last year.

In Seattle, for example, TSA officials discovered 11 firearms at security checkpoints throughout January. During January 2022, they had only confiscated seven.

Aaron Batt, the TSA’s Federal Security Director for Indiana, has admitted that the situation is very concerning. He said:

“It’s disturbing that so many Indianapolis passengers have made the irresponsible decision to bring a firearm to the checkpoint in the first month of the year.”

Meanwhile, the TSA’s Federal Security Director for Nebraska has admitted that he isn’t shocked by the data. He said:

“This is not a new problem. But, it is one that must be addressed since we have reached an unacceptable level of firearms coming through our security checkpoints. I hope the growing numbers serve as a wake-up call for those who choose to travel with firearms.”

Related: The Consequences of Forgetting to Declare at Customs

Why Is This Happening?

It seems slightly bemusing that so many passengers are trying to travel with firearms in their hand luggage, especially when you consider they could simply just put them in their hold luggage without any ramifications.

The current rules state that travelers are allowed to pack firearms in their checked/hold luggage, provided that they tell the airline about them when they check in. No one, not even passengers with a concealed weapon permit, is allowed to get on an airplane with a firearm part of their carry-on luggage for obvious reasons, which is well-documented information.

TSA Administrator, David Pekoske, has told the Associated Press that he believes the rise in firearm confiscations at airports is a reflection of society in general. He said that “there are more people carrying firearms nowadays” and that what we are seeing at security checkpoints “reflects that”.

Law enforcement is trying to deter passengers from bringing guns to airports by raising the maximum penalty for a firearm violation. Last year the TSA announced that perpetrators would face a maximum fine of $14,950 and could face arrest. Additional penalties include having their ability to skip normal security airlines at airports revoked for five years.

This article was produced and syndicated by The Impulse Traveler.

Andrew Delaney
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