Record Number Of Firearms Found At TSA Security Checkpoints
The air travel safety system in the United States is about to set a dubious record, for the number of firearms discovered in carry-on baggage at airport security checkpoints.
The Transportation Security Administration reports that the previous record for violations was 2,212 for all of 2014. As of August of this year, officers had found 1,898 firearms in 2015 alone. TSA is still collecting data from September, but I counted 207 firearms reported so far on the TSA Blog, bringing the annual total to over 2,100. And we’ve still got another quarter of the year to go.
Way to go, America?!?
Through August, the airports with the most firearms violations this year were Dallas-Ft. Worth and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, at 107 and 106 incidents respectively. Houston George Bush Intercontinental came in third with 71 incidents, and Denver, Phoenix, Seattle and Nashville each accounted for between 40 and 49 firearms discovered.
On average, TSA agents intercept 40 to 50 weapons per week nationwide, a TSA spokesperson told me, but the week ending September 18, 2015 set a new record: 67. The former one-week record, 65 firearms discovered, was set in 2013.
Violators can face TSA-mandated penalties of up to $11,000 per person, plus a criminal referral. And depending on the state where the violation took place, additional state and local penalties may also apply.
That’s not to mention the potential danger to other passengers. Of the 67 firearms discovered the week of September 18, 56 guns were loaded, and 26 had a round in the chamber, meaning that a trigger pull would have fired the weapon.
Then there’s the hassle and potential for delay: When a TSA agent discovers a firearm in carry-on baggage, the security lane is shut down as the suspect is detained and local law enforcement is called. Other passengers have to migrate to other security lanes until the situation clears.
Click for a full list of items prohibited at security checkpoints. You can also find details of which items are permitted and prohibited in checked luggage.
To see the numbers and types of weapons collected by TSA agents, visit the TSA blog and its Week in Review section.
This article was written by Andrew Bender from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.