According to the agency’s year-end report, TSA agents discovered 2,212 firearms in carry-on bags at 224 airports—about six a day. That number reflected an increase of 22 percent over 2013, when a total of 1,813 firearms were discovered.
About 83 percent of the confiscated guns were loaded, the department said.
Top 10 Airports for Gun Catches in 2014:
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): 120
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): 109
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): 78
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH): 77
- Denver International Airport (DEN): 70
- William P. Hobby Airport (HOU): 50
- Tampa International Airport (TPA): 49
- Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL): 49
- Nashville International Airport (BNA): 48
- Orlando International Airport (MCO): 47
With the enormous increase in the number of people permitted to carry firearms for personal protection, it’s no surprise a growing number of law-abiding (but forgetful) American travelers are being found with handguns inside their carry-on baggage at airport Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints.
Each of the past 7 years has seen a new high number of firearm discoveries or confiscations occur at the nation’s airports. Most agree the upward trend is due to the increase in the number of people who legally carry firearms 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.
“Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that’s for the law enforcement officer to decide,” writes TSA blogger Bob Burns. “In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.”
The TSA reports it screened more than 653 million airline passengers in 2014 (about 1.8 million per day), an increase of 14.8 million from the previous year. The TSA also inspected 1.7 billion carry-on bags.