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TSA: Firearm seizures at airport reached record high in 2020 despite fewer passengers

TSA: Firearm seizures at airport reached record high in 2020 despite fewer passengers
© Greg Nash

The Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday firearm seizures at airports in 2020 reached a record high in the agency’s history despite a lower volume of passengers this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

TSA officers caught 10 firearms per million passengers in 2020, double the rate of 2019 in which officers caught about 5 firearms per million passengers.

In total, officers discovered 3,257 firearms on passengers or in carry-on bags at checkpoints, 83 percent of which were loaded although passenger screenings fell by 500 million people due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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By comparison, officers caught a record 4,432 firearms in 2019, of which 87 percent were loaded.

TSA said it found firearms at 234 airports nationwide in 2020. Officers caught 220 firearms at Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport, 176 firearms at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, 126 at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and 124 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Firearms are prohibited on board planes in the passenger cabin, but passengers can fly with firearms in checked baggage if properly packed and declared at check-in. However, firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.

Airlines may also have their own requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

All leading U.S. carriers temporarily banned guns in checked bags to the Washington, D.C., area for a week after the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 carried out by a mob of former President TrumpDonald TrumpChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report Kim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US Ex-Colorado GOP chair accused of stealing more than 0K from pro-Trump PAC MORE’s supporters, according to The Associated Press.

The bans were lifted about three days after President Biden’s inauguration.