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Friday, September 24th, 2021

Airport checkpoint gun seizures on rise

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Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel are reporting a record-setting year for officers stationed at airport security checkpoints, noting more firearm seizures than at any other point in the agency’s history.

“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.”

Officials indicated 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags or on passengers at checkpoints across the country last year, averaging about 12.1 firearms per day, representing a 5 percent increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 4,239 detected in 2018.

Additionally, 87 percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded.

The TSA said passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded and packed in a locked, hard-sided case. Ammunition must be in its original box and can be packed inside the hard-side case, next to the firearm. The case with the firearm should be brought to the airline check-in counter, and the airline representative informed that the passenger wants to travel with the gun.

Individuals who bring weapons to a checkpoint are subject to federal civil penalties of up to $13,000. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100.