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How Many More Guns Were Caught at TSA Checkpoints in July 2020?

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) arm patch and shield is seen at Los Angeles International Airport, California February 20, 2014. U.S. authorities issued a warning on Wednesday to airlines flying to the United States to watch out for militants who may have hidden bombs in their shoes, U.S. government sources said. iREUTERS/Kevork Djansezian (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY TRANSPORT) - RTX197YF

The Transportation Security Administration says despite screening fewer travelers more are electing to carry guns in their carry-on luggage. The agency says they found 15.3 guns per one million screened passengers in July 2020 alone – just over three times the amount found in July 2019.

The Transportation Security Administration is making a desperate plea to all travelers: leave your guns at home. In a press release, the agency said despite screening less flyers, they are finding three-times more guns in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the United States.

TSA Says 80 Percent of Found Guns at Checkpoints Are Loaded

According to released data, the TSA found 15.3 guns per one million screened passengers in July 2020, among 75 percent less passengers than were screened in July 2019. The rate is an alarming three-times the rate in 2019, when security agents found 5.1 guns per one million screened.

Moreover, the TSA says the majority of those guns were loaded and ready to fire. Even with the presence of sworn law enforcement officers, a loaded weapon presents a deadly risk to both passengers and screeners at TSA checkpoints.

“Even more concerning is that 80 percent of the firearms coming into the checkpoint are loaded and it’s just an accident waiting to happen,” TSA administrator David Pekoske said in a press release. “Travelers need to know that if they bring a gun to the security checkpoint, regardless of whether it is in a handbag, knapsack, roller-bag or strapped to their belt, it will be an inconvenient and expensive mistake on their part.”

Which airports found the most guns in July 2020? Data released by the TSA shows Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) discovered the most, with 27 found in carry-on luggage. Both Denver International Airport (DEN) and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) tied for second, with 13 guns each. Nashville International Airport (BNA), Dallas Love Field (DAL) and Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) rounded out the top six, with a combined 30 busts.

Guns at Airports Becoming a Trending Problem

Even though there are less flyers at airports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, guns at airports is becoming a serious problem. In July 2020 alone, TSA agents found over 300 guns at checkpoints. The number in July 2020 alone is just short of the number found by the agency between Feb. 24 and Apr. 22, 2020.

If you are caught with a firearm at a TSA checkpoint, you could face civil penalties of $2,050 for an unloaded gun, or $4,100 for a loaded gun. Fines and penalties could go over $10,000, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. It is unclear how many people have been prosecuted for bringing a firearm unto an aircraft.

fw10001 August 12, 2020

QG, that was hilarious! And how true. "if the TSA screened less travellers they would detect less guns…"

scsubasteve78 August 12, 2020

In addition to the fines you should be on the no-fly list for at least 10 years if not a lifetime ban. There is no excuse for an adult to not know where their loaded firearm is at all times. Rights come with responsibilities. This is no way comparable to forgetting a water bottle until water bottles start killing innocent people and murdering children in their schools.

cscasi August 12, 2020

QG- another Trump whiner, I assume. Best to just keep what TSA is doing; screening and catching what comes through. Perhaps they should confiscate the weapons and then each year sell or destroy them. People would be more careful about bring them along through checkpoints.

top987 August 12, 2020

There is no way to know if more people are showing up with firearms or because there are fewer travelers the screening process is better. We don't, and can't know how many weapons were missed in July of 2019 so year to year comparisons are not informative. A tip for gun owners who fly - Make sure you have a carry-on bag that is used exclusively for flying and never use it to transport a weapon. If you have one bag that is always weapon free and that bag is the one you always use for flying you'll never accidentally show up at the checkpoint with a weapon. It is far less expensive to have a dedicated flying bag than it is to pay any fine.

wh6cto August 11, 2020

Past tests of the screening system showed an alarming number of failures in detecting objects, including guns. With less of a rush getting passengers through the checkpoints, a higher detection rate may be a significant factor in the increase.