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TSA Discovers Record Number of Firearms at US Airport Checkpoints

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that officers confiscated the highest number of firearms at airport security checkpoints since the agency was formed in 2001.

Of the more than 6,542 firearms discovered on passengers or in their luggage last year, 88 percent were loaded. The total represents a nearly 10 percent increase over the 5,972 firearms seized in 2021, which was also a record.


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To combat the rising number of confiscated firearms, TSA officials announced in December the agency would raise the maximum civil penalty for a firearms violation from $13,910 to $14,950.

As for the airports with the largest number of guns confiscated in 2022, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport led the way with 448, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (385), George Bush Intercontinental Airport (298) and Nashville International Airport (213).

“I am incredibly proud of our dedicated TSA employees who perform the critical task of securing our nation’s transportation systems each day,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said.

“We had a very successful year that ended with the enactment of the FY 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which included funding to bring TSA employee compensation to a level commensurate with other federal employees, in addition to funding to expand collective bargaining rights for our non-supervisory screening workforce,” Pekoske continued.

Passengers caught with loaded firearms may face fines starting at $3,000, plus a criminal referral to local law enforcement. Repeat offenders could face the maximum civil penalty and PreCheck eligibility will be revoked for at least five years.

Travelers are permitted to transport firearms as long as they are properly stored and the items are declared to the airline at check-in. The TSA’s official website provides instructions on proper packing guidance for firearms in checked baggage.

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