National Security

TSA intercepts record number of firearms at security checkpoints in 2022

FILE – A sign warns travelers not to bring guns through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Fla, on April 23, 2022. The TSA said Friday, Dec. 16, 2022, it is raising the fine for people caught with a gun in their carry-on bag to a maximum fine to $14,950 after intercepting a record number of firearms at security checkpoints this year. Previously it was $13,910..(AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) intercepted a record number of firearms at security checkpoints in 2022, surpassing 6,000 in a year for the first time. 

The TSA said in a release that it has stopped 6,301 firearms this year, and more than 88 percent of them were loaded. This figure tops the previous record of 5,972 set last year, and officials expect the number to grow to about 6,600 by the end of the year, which would be a more than 10-percent increase from 2021. 

The release states that TSA rules forbid firearms in carry-on bags at any security checkpoint, even if a passenger has a concealed weapon permit. 

“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. 

The number of firearms caught at security checkpoints has majorly increased over the past decade, rising from just 1,123 in 2010. The number consistently rose each year except for in 2020, the first full year of the COVID-19 pandemic, when it dropped by more than 1,000 before recovering the next year. 

TSA has raised the maximum civil penalty for a firearms violation to $14,950 to deter firearms being brought to checkpoints, but the agency determines the penalty based on each case. It also revokes TSA PreCheck eligibility, which allows passengers to move through security more quickly, for at least five years for those found to have a firearm. 

Passengers who bring a firearm to a checkpoint may also be arrested, depending on state or local law. 

“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,” Pekoske said. 

Passengers who want to transport a firearm must do so in checked baggage and declare the firearms to their airline upon checking in. Individual airlines can also have additional requirements for travelers with firearms.

Tags david pekoske firearm transportation Firearms security checkpoints Transportation Security Administration TSA PreCheck

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