2014 Airport Gun Confiscations On Record Pace

Among the numerous components of the comprehensive pro-gun legislation signed into law this week by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal was a provision that will allow those holding a valid state concealed Weapons Carry License (WCL) who accidentally carry a firearm to an airport TSA security checkpoint to retain their gun without criminal charges.

The measure is especially significant to those Georgia WCL holders who travel frequently, because Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has been the country's leading airport for gun confiscations by security officials for several consecutive years.

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In 2013, a total of 111 firearms were discovered being carried by those preparing to board planes in Atlanta, either in their carry-on luggage or on their person. The next highest number of discoveries — 96 — took place at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. It was followed by George Bush Intercontinental (Houston) with 68, Phoenix Sky Harbor with 66, and Denver International with 51.

The last 2 years have seen a record number of discoveries/confiscations occur at the nation's airports, and 2014 is on track to surpass both previous years. Most agree the growing number of incidents is due to the increase in the number of persons who legally carry firearms for personal protection and the liberalization of carry laws in many states. Another reason is simple forgetfulness and the lack of experience by many who have recently been licensed or permitted to legally carry in their state.

In 2013, a total of 364 guns were confiscated by TSA agents at U.S. airports from Jan. 1 to March 31, as passengers tried to carry them aboard — 45 more than the first quarter of 2012. In April, another 159 were found, compared to 120 in April 2012.

According to The TSA Blog, which updates airport gun discoveries weekly, a total of 567 firearms have been found at security checkpoints through April 17, 2014, reflecting an 8.5 percent increase for the first 4 months, with a half-month still remaining.

In recent years, the most-discovered firearm type at airport checkpoints is the .380 cal., with 520 found in 2013. It was also the most-found handgun for the 2012 calendar year, an obvious statement of its current popularity as a carry caliber.

By handgun, the .380 (28%) was followed by the 9 mm (18%), .22 cal. (11%), .40 S&W, (11%) and .38 cal. (10%).

To see recent updates of TSA confiscated guns, knives, and other items check out The TSA Blog.

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