firearms

TSA: 2018 was record-breaking year for guns found at airports

TSA’s Year in Review came out today with the (still somewhat unofficial) final stats on the number of guns TSA officers found in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints last year.

The total for 2018 is a record-setting 4,239 firearms found in carry-on bags at 249 of the more than 400 TSA-controlled airport checkpoints around the country.

That’s up more than 7 percent from the 3,957 firearms TSA officers found in carry-on bags in 2017.

And that averages out to 81.6 firearms a week and 11.6 firearms a day.

The break-down gets more alarming when we look at the stats on the number of guns found to be loaded.

Of the 4,239 firearms found last year, more than 86% (3,656) were loaded (another record) and almost 34% (1,432) of the firearms found had a round chambered.

Why do so many passengers show up at airports with guns?

“I think the biggest reason is that people go buy these things and then completely forget they have them, which is dangerous in its own right,” said aviation security expert Jeff Price, the owner of Leading Edge Strategies, “I imagine when they get the gun, at first they are always aware of it because they feel safer. Then, after a period of time, it works its way to the bottom of the bag and next thing that happens is its discovered at a screening checkpoint.”

Price also suspects that because more people are carrying guns these days and carry those guns in purses and laptops, they are aware they have the guns, “But in the hustle and confusion of preparing for a trip, they forget to take the gun out. “

TSA’s Year in Review also lists the top 10 airports for firearm discoveries in 2018.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) the Top 10 list with 298 firearms found. (253 loaded.) That’s an increase of 53 compared to 2017.

ATL also set the record for the airport with the most firearms discovered in one month: In August 2018, 32 firearms were found at ATL checkpoints.

Here’s the rest of TSA’s Top 10 list of airports for firearms discoveries in 2018:

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): 219 (193 loaded)

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): 129 (120 loaded)

Denver International Airport (DEN): 126 (95 loaded)

Orlando International Airport (MCO): 123 (112 loaded)

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH): 117 (115 loaded). Some good news here: this is a decrease of 25 compared to 2017.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL): 96 (80 loaded)

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS): 93 (76 loaded)

Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL): 89 (83 loaded)    

Nashville International Airport (BNA): 86 (80 loaded)

In a year when TSA also screened a record number of travelers (813.8 million; a 5.5 percent increase over 2017), the agency’s officers also found a wide variety of prohibited items and ‘artfully concealed’ objects other than firearms in carry-on bags, including inert grenades, a bottle of lighter fluid, fireworks and knife combs.

TSA’s week in review also notes the loss in 2018 of Curtis “Blogger Bob” Burns, the charmingly corny TSA employee who chronicled the agency’s odd finds on the TSA blog, on Twitter and on Instagram. Burns is featured in quirky videos highlighting TSA Top 10 Most Unusual Finds in 2016 and in 2017.

TSA’s Year in Review promises that a video highlighting 2018’s most unusual finds will be released soon.

Saying farewell to TSA’s social media star, “Blogger Bob” Burns

 

 

Courtesy TSA

Readers of the StuckatTheAirport.com blog know that I often cite the TSA’s blog and Instagram accounts, which catalog the firearms and often  outrageous items that passengers try to take with them onto planes.

The creative and really funny TSA employee who has been responsible for these social media outlets died recently and I wrote a quick turn post for USA TODAY:

Curtis Robert Burns, the Transportation Security Administration’s surprise social media star, passed away on Friday, October 19 at the age of 48 after a sudden illness.

Known as “Blogger Bob” to followers of the TSA blog and to the more than 950,000 subscribers of TSA’s Instagram account, Burns used what he called his corny, “dad humor” to educate the public about the work of the TSA and the rules regarding what passengers may and may not take with them onto airplanes.

View this post on Instagram

These can fly! Well… they can fly on the plane as a carry-on item, but they can’t actually fly anymore. Those days have clearly passed for this swarm. They’ve been pinned down for quite a while on a project. I’m guessing your husband made you ask because he didn’t want to be a pest and bug us, right? … This is a screenshot of a tweet sent to the AskTSA account on Twitter. … Have you ever wondered whether or not you can pack a certain item? If you're a regular follower of this account, I'm sure you can think of many situations where it would have behooved somebody to send us a picture first. Well, fret no more! Now you can do just that… … Simply snap a picture and tweet it to AskTSA (twitter.com/asktsa), or send it via Facebook Messenger (facebook.com/asktsa) and our team will get back to you promptly with an answer. … And that's not all. Contact us about any TSA related issue or question you might have. We can even help you if you don’t see TSA Pre✓® on your boarding pass. … We look forward to answering your questions, 9am-7pm daily. #AskTSA #TSATravelTips

A post shared by TSA (@tsa) on

On TSA’s blog, Burns shared a weekly count of the firearms TSA officers found at airport checkpoints and a summary of the knives and other often alarming prohibited items passengers packed in carry-on and checked bags and in their pockets, briefcases and purses.

He also filmed a humorous year-end video countdown of TSA’s Top Ten Most Unusual Finds where his dry wit was charmingly evident.

“His Top 10 items of ridiculous items found at the checkpoint reminded everyone that commonsense isn’t evenly distributed. And what screening officers did isn’t security theater. And if it were, the cast of characters were often those being screened and not doing the screening, as some suggest,” Michael Bilello, a TSA spokesperson noted in a statement announcing Burns’ death.

Thanks to Burns and his wry approach to sharing photos and comments about odd items discovered by TSA officers, TSA’s Instagram account won many honors, including three Webby Awards in 2018 and ranked fourth best by Rolling Stone in 2015.

Here’s Burns giving his Webby Award acceptance speech:

During a TSA Facebook live, “Ask Me Anything” episode earlier this year, Burns attributed the success of TSA’s Instagram account in part to the shock value.

“People don’t come to a government Instagram account and expert to see humor,” he said, “And they also don’t expect to see these crazy things that people are trying to bring on a plane.”

His favorite item? The sandwich slicer that someone tried to bring on board, “Just like the ones you see at the deli!”

According to an obituary in the Dayton Daily News, Burns was a chemical engineer for the U.S. army during Desert Storm, the father of two daughters and also lead singer and song writer for the “Big in Iowa” band.

101 firearms found last week at airport checkpoints

Each week the Trasnportation Security Administration reports on the number of firearms its officers find at airport checkpoints.

And each week I get alarmed.

This week is no different.

TSA reports that between May 14 and 20 a total of 101 firearms were found at airport security checkpoints.

Of those 101 firearms, 85 were loaded and 28 had a load chambered.

101 firearms is a lot. But it’s not a record for the TSA, although it is close.

Between February 5 and 11 of this year, TSA found a record 104 firearms at airport checkpoints.

Why do people bring firearms – and loaded firearms- with them to the airport?

TSA says most people caught with a firearm at an airport simply say they ‘forgot’ their firearm was in the bag they’d packed for their trip…

 

TSA found a record number of firearms at airport checkpoints in 2017

We knew it was coming, but now it is official:

According to the Transportation Security Administration, a record setting 3,957 firearms were found in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country during 2017.

That’s a 16.7 percent increase (556 more) over the 3,391 firearms found in 2016, an average of 76.1 firearms per week and an average of 10. 8 firearms each day.

Of the firearms found during 2017, 84 percent (3,324) were loaded and 34.8 percent (1,378) had a round chambered.

Firearms were found at 239 airports, with the most in any one month (31) discovered in August at Hartsfield-Jackson Altanta International Airport.

Top 10 Airports For Firearm Discoveries In 2017:

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): 245 (222 Loaded)

Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW): 211 (165 Loaded)

George Bush Intercontinental Airport – Houston (IAH): 142 (124 Loaded)

Denver International (DEN): 118 (102 Loaded)

Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX): 115 (109 Loaded)

Tampa International (TPA): 97 (90 Loaded)

Orlando International Airport (MCO): 94 (82 Loaded)

Dallas Love Field (DAL): 93 (81 Loaded)

Nashville International (BNA): 89 (71 Loaded)

Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA): 75 (60 Loaded)

 

Oops, they did it again: new record in firearms found at airport checkpoints

 

As the busy summer travel season kicks into high gear and tips for travelers roll out from here and there, here’s one helpful piece of advice gun owners should heed: make sure you remove your firearms from purses, pockets and satchels before heading to the airport.

It seems impossible in this era of terrorism alerts and heightened attention to travel safety, but people keep taking their firearms with them to the airport.

Last week TSA officers discovered a record 82 firearms in carry-on bags at airports around the country.

Of those record 82 firearms discovered, 66 were loaded and and 18 had a round chambered

That eclipses the record of 81 firearms found during one week in August 2016 and tied in March 2017.

Most travelers found with firearms in their carry-ons say they simply forgot they had those weapons with them. Others may just be using that excuse to evade serious repercussions when caught

In some states, and under certain circumstances, nothing much happens to travelers found with firearms in their carry-ons; they’re simply told to put their guns elsewhere (Their parked cars, maybe? Or to send them home with a friend?)  In some cases, though, travelers bringing firearms to the checkpoint can be arrested and fined up to $11,000.