GUNS AT AIPORTS. Sadly, that’s a thing.
Looks like the Transporation Security Administration (TSA) is on its way to breaking yet another record.
And it’s not for the number of passengers screened at U.S. airports. Although those numbers are up.
This record is likely to be for the number of firearms found at airport security checkpoints.
As of the end of September, 5,072 firearms have been found in carry-on bags, or on passengers, at airport security checkpoints. That’s just for the first three quarters of the year.
In just this third quarter, TSA screeners spotted 1,820 firearms at checkpoints, an average of 19.8 per day. More alarming: 94% (!) of all those firearms were loaded.
If you follow any of the TSA social media feeds (and you should, the posts are sometimes very funny and corny) you’ll see that, despite efforts to remind passengers that firearms are not allowed in carry-on bags, more firearms are found every day.
So at this rate, it’s a good bet that last year’s record of 6,542 firearms will be surpassed before the end of the year.
Want to bring your gun on your flight?
While firearms aren’t allowed in carry-on bags, they are allowed in checked luggage. Under certain conditions. They need to be unloaded in a locked hard-sided case. And they must be declared to the airline when you check that bag in at the ticket counter.
What happens if you ‘forget’ and bring your firearm to the checkpoint?
Try to remember: firearms are prohibited at security checkpoints, in the secure area of an airport, or in the passenger cabin of an aircraft.
That’s the rule even if you have a concealed carry permit or are in a constitutional carry jurisdiction.
TSA tells us that most people found with firearms in their carry-on bags say “Oops, I forgot that was in there.” But with so many firearms being found, the weapons department of Stuck at the Airport finds that hard to believe.
So, what happens if you’re found with a firearm at an airport security checkpoint?
If a passenger brings a firearm to the TSA checkpoint, the TSO will contact local law enforcement to safely unload and take possession of the firearm. The law enforcement officer may also arrest or cite the passenger, depending on local law. TSA may impose a civil penalty of up to almost $15,000, and passengers who present with a firearm at a security checkpoint will lose TSA PreCheck eligibility for five years.
Bottom line: leave your firearms at home.