TSA finding more guns than ever

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?

Per TSA:

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.

Crazy scary!? TSA found 3000+ guns at airport checkpoints so far this year

Here’s a packing tip: check your pockets, your purse, your briefcase, duffel, or carry-on bag to make sure you aren’t taking your gun – your loaded gun (!) – with you to the airport.

As travel returns to ‘normal,’ the Transporation Security Administration reports an uptick in the number of guns, and – we repeat – loaded guns – being discovered at airport checkpoints.

Gun owners tell us that responsible gun owners always know where their gun is located. TSA says most people found with a gun in their carry-on say “they forgot” they had that gun on them.

In some cities and states, ‘forgetting’ you have a gun in your carry-on can result in a fine of more than $10,000 – or jail.

Or, depending on local laws, TSA may just tell you to (properly) put the gun in checked luggage. Or leave it behind.

But we’re headed for trouble. Last week TSA reported that in the first 6 months of 2022, TSA officers have already found more than 3,000 guns at checkpoints around the country.

That’s an average of 17 guns per day. And at this pace, TSA will surpass the previous record of 5,972 guns found at airport checkpoints in one year. That record was set in 2021, a year when far fewer people were traveling.

Any ideas for how to stop this?

What happens if you have a loaded gun in your carry-on in Australia?

Courtesy Australian Federal Police

A hat tip to “Three Shots McGee” for sharing a story about what happens in Australia when someone is found with a loaded gun in their carry-on. As he says, having a passenger show up at an airport checkpoint with a loaded gun is an “Aussie airport event that almost never happens.”

But the passenger, an American, had an American excuse:

“The man claimed he had forgotten the weapon was in his luggage but this situation could have had deadly consequences for other travelers, even if it had discharged accidentally during the flight,” said Det. A/Supt. Sykes.

Meanwhile, in the United States, TSA officers found 5,972 firearms at airport security checkpoints in 2021. That is a significant increase from the 3,257 firearms found in carry-ons in 2020 when travel was down due to the pandemic. But it’s a serious spike over the 4,432 firearms found at airport checkpoints in 2019, pre-pandemic.

One of the most common excuses people give TSA officers is “Oops, I forgot that was in there.”

In the U.S., some people face fines and criminal charges when found with guns in their carry-ons. But in many cities and in many states, due to local laws all TSA can do is tell people to put the gun back in their car, put it in their checked bag, or give it to someone (ideally, someone they know…) to take home.

“Your Flight Has Been Canceled”

Winter weather and pandemic-related staffing issues are creating a nightmare for travelers.

Thousands of flights have been canceled or delayed – or delayed and then canceled – over the holiday weekend and now into this week.

On Tuesday, more than 1,000 flights across the country were canceled, while thousands more experienced delays. When we checked late Tuesday evening, FlightAware was already showing more than 650 flight cancelations for Wednesday and it’s a good bet that more will be canceled overnight.

We hope you are not caught up in the mess.

“Artfully Concealed” Knives

TSA has some alarming images and statistics about ‘artfully concealed’ and not-so-artfully concealed weapons that people try to bring through airport checkpoints.

Incredibly alarming are the knives discovered on Monday sewn inside a kid’s stuffed animal at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)

“The stuffed animal, which appeared to be a black bear in a space-age technology suit and cape, triggered an alarm as it entered the checkpoint X-ray machine,” TSA said in a statement. “The X-ray image indicated something concealed inside the bear and upon closer inspection, TSA officers noticed that the back of the bear showed signs it had been re-stitched.”

When the stitching was removed, two knives were found inside the bear’s stuffing.

The mother of the boy carrying the toy told officials that the bear is a comfort toy for her son. But TSA says the mom will likely face a Federal civil penalty for this violation.

Meanwhile, right before the Christmas holiday, TSA shared that so far this year its officers have found more than 5,700 firearms at security checkpoints. That is a 20-year record.

United, Delta end discount deals for NRA members

Just sharing this here.