Why do people bring guns to the airport?

TSA shares half-year tally of firearms found at airport checkpoints

Travelers are returning to airports and airplanes in record numbers.

And for some reason, many of those travelers are packing guns in their carry-on bags.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reports that its officers found 3,251 firearms at airport security checkpoints during the first half of 2023, which ended June 30.

The total represents an average of 18 firearms per day, of which more than 92% were loaded.

This is an increase from the first half of 2022 when Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) found 3,053 firearms at security checkpoints. 86% of those firearms were loaded.

In the first five days of July, TSA officers found an additional 90 firearms at airport checkpoints, bringing the total for 2023 through July 5 to 3,341.

In 2022, a record 6,542 firearms were found at airport checkpoints. So it looks like we’re on the path of breaking that record – again – in 2023.

What happens if you are caught with a firearm in a carry-on bag?

If a TSA officer finds a firearm in a carry-on bag, they’ll contact local law enforcement to check the contents of the carry-on bag, safely unload and take possession of the firearm and process the passenger in accordance with local laws on firearms. 

TSA will impose a civil penalty of up to $14,950, cancel the traveler’s TSA PreCheck eligibility for five years, and probably put them on an enhanced screening list.

Depending on local laws regarding firearms, the passenger may also be arrested or cited.

Thanks for visiting Stuck at the Airport. Subscribe to get daily travel tidbits. And follow me on Twitter at @hbaskas and Instagram.


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