The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recovered more guns at airports across the country in 2019 than ever before in the agency's history.
According to TSA, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags or on passengers at checkpoints across the country. Of those, TSA says 87% were loaded.
"The continued increase in the number of firearms that travelers bring to airport checkpoints is deeply troubling," TSA Administrator David Pekoske said. "There is a proper way to travel safely with a firearm. First and foremost, it should be unloaded. Then it should be packed in a hard-sided locked case, taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared, and checked."
TSA recovered the most guns at these 10 airports:
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International — 323
- Dallas/Fort Worth International — 217
- Denver International — 140
- George Bush Intercontinental — 138
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International — 132
- Dallas Love Field — 103
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport — 100
- Nashville International Airport — 97
- Orlando International Airport — 96
- Tampa International — 87
Travelers who bring firearms to checkpoints could face criminal charges and federal civil penalties of up to $13,000. TSA says a typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100. Click here for a complete list of penalties.
Passengers can travel with firearms in a checked bag if:
- They are unloaded
- Packed in a locked hard-sided case
- Ammunition is in its original box, even if the box is not full (it can be packed inside the hard case)
Airline passengers need to declare firearm at the ticket counter while checking bags, TSA says. For more information on traveling with a firearm click here.
This story was originally published by WFTS in Tampa, Florida.