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Thursday, June 20th, 2024

TSA releases firearm interception numbers for first half of 2023

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During the first half of 2023, which ended June 30, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) noted personnel intercepted 3,251 firearms at airport security checkpoints.

“Anyone traveling with a firearm must follow the rules and pack it properly in checked baggage in addition to declaring it to the airline,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said. “Passengers who bring a firearm to the security checkpoint present a security risk, and there are consequences for doing so. I applaud the work of our Transportation Security Officers for their dedication to our transportation security mission, ensuring these firearms do not get into the secure area of the airport and on board aircraft.”

According to the TSA, the 3,251 total represents an average 18 firearms per day at TSA checkpoints, of which more than 92 percent were loaded – representing an increase from the first half of 2022 when Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) stopped 3,053 firearms at security checkpoints where more than 86 percent were loaded.

The TSA acknowledged that while the rate at which passengers bring firearms to airport security checkpoints has actually declined in 2023, the number of passengers traveling has also increased, so the agency is anticipating surpassing last year’s record of 6,542 firearm interceptions.

Firearms are prohibited at TSA security checkpoints, in the secure area of an airport, and on board aircraft – even if a passenger has a concealed carry permit.

When passengers bring firearms to the TSA security checkpoint, TSOs contact local law enforcement to check the contents of the carry-on bag, safely unload and take possession of the firearm and process the passenger in accordance with local laws on firearms. TSA will impose a civil penalty up to $14,950, eliminate TSA PreCheck eligibility for five years and may require enhanced screening.

Some passengers will be arrested or cited, depending on local laws on firearms.