TSA: Guns caught more often at airport checkpoints in 2020, despite drop in travelers

National News
Guns found more often at airpot security in 2020: TSA

Image of a handgun a man tried to get through security at JFK Airport in 2018; TSA officers inspect airline passengers.

In 2020, firearms were caught at airport security checkpoints at double the 2019 rate, despite an overall plunge in travelers amid the pandemic, according to the TSA.

The agency found approximately ten guns per million passengers screened in 2020, as compared to about five guns per million passengers screened in 2019.

This comes as total passengers screened in 2020 fell by nearly 500 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement from TSA officials.

“I commend our officers for their commitment to TSA’s security mission by identifying and stopping these weapons at the TSA checkpoints. Firearms are strictly prohibited onboard planes in the passenger cabin,” said Senior Official Performing the Duties of TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye. “Bringing a firearm to a TSA security checkpoint poses a serious risk to TSA officer and passenger safety, and doing so may result in significant fines or arrest.”

TSA officers discovered a total of 3,257 guns on passengers or in their carry-on bags at checkpoints in 2020. About 83% of those firearms were loaded.

In 2019, TSA officers stopped a record 4,432 firearms at checkpoints, of which 87% were loaded.

Top 10 airports where TSA officers detected guns at checkpoints in 2020:

1Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport220
2Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport176
3Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport126
4Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport124
5Denver International Airport104
6Nashville International Airport94
7Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport87
8Orlando International Airport79
9Las Vegas McCarran International Airport72
10Salt Lake City International Airport71

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