Attempting to bring a gun through airport security in the US can be punished by thousands of dollars in fines and confiscation of the weapon. That hasn’t stopped thousands of American from trying to do so, anyway.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported that it seized 4,239 firearms from travellers’ carry-on luggage in 2018. That works out to about 81 guns found at security checkpoints each week, and more than 11 each day.
Of these guns, 86 per cent were loaded, and more than one in three had a round chambered, meaning they were ready to fire — perhaps even unintentionally if dropped.
TSA said firearms seizures rose 7 per cent from 2017 to 2018.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has the most seized guns, 298, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (219). Most of the airports with large numbers of guns confiscated were in the US south and midwest.
The TSA can levy fines of up to $13,333 against travellers who bring guns to an airport checkpoint, intentionally or not.
Guns weren’t the only weapons seized by TSA agents last year: others included knives, smoke grenades, replica mortar shells, and fireworks.