The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it has increased the maximum civil penalty for a firearms violation to $14,950 in the wake of officers intercepting a record number of firearms from carry-on bags at airport security checkpoints this year with two weeks still left to go in 2022.
As of Friday, December 16, TSA screeners have stopped a whopping 6,301 firearms. Perhaps more concerning, more than 88 percent of them were discovered loaded. The latest figure surpasses the previous record of 5,972 firearms uncovered in 2021.
TSA now estimates that officers will prevent roughly 6,600 firearms (in carry-on bags) from entering the secure area of airports by the end of 2022. That would mark a nearly 10 percent increase over 2021’s previous record level.
The agency reminds travelers that firearms are never allowed in carry-on bags at any TSA security checkpoint, even if a passenger has a concealed weapon permit. Penalty amounts for violations are based on the circumstances in each case. However, violators may not only face enhanced screening or even arrest by local authorities but will have their TSA PreCheck eligibility revoked for at least five years.
Passengers are only able to fly with firearms stored in checked baggage and must declare them to their airline at check-in. Since carriers may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition, travelers are encouraged to contact their airline regarding these policies prior to arriving at the airport.
“I applaud the work of our Transportation Security Officers who do an excellent job of preventing firearms from getting into the secure area of airports, and onboard aircraft,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement. “Firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags at the checkpoint and onboard aircraft. When a passenger brings a firearm to the checkpoint, this consumes significant security resources and poses a potential threat to transportation security, in addition to being very costly for the passenger.”
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