The Transportation Security Administration says it has found a record number of guns at airport checkpoints this year.
The agency said Wednesday that TSA officers stopped 4,495 airline passengers from carrying firearms on flights as of Oct. 3, exceeding the previous record of 4,432 firearms for all of 2019.
Officers have found 11 firearms in carry-on bags for every 1 million passengers so far this year, up from five firearms per million passengers in 2019.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske said the increase is “alarming."
“Firearms, particularly loaded firearms, introduce an unnecessary risk at checkpoints, have no place in the passenger cabin of an airplane, and represent a very costly mistake for the passengers who attempt to board a flight with them,” Pekoske said in a statement.
The cities with the highest detection rates are Atlanta; Houston; Dallas; Phoenix; Nashville, Tenn.; Denver; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and New Orleans. In Atlanta, 391 firearms have been found, up from 220 that were taken last year.
Earlier this year, then-acting TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye told The Hill that over 80 percent of firearms detected at checkpoints are loaded.
“This really is, it’s a concern we have. It’s a public safety concern. It's an officer safety concern,” LaJoye told The Hill at the time.