TSA finds record-setting number of firearms at airport checkpoints this year

84 firearms detected at Orlando airport

This handgun was found on Oct. 2, 2021, at the TSA checkpoint in Roanoke’s airport in a traveler's carry-on bag, according to the TSA.
This handgun was found on Oct. 2, 2021, at the TSA checkpoint in Roanoke’s airport in a traveler's carry-on bag, according to the TSA. (TSA)

TSA agents detected a record-setting number of firearms across U.S. airport security checkpoints this year, according to a TSA press release.

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TSA officials said as of Oct. 3 this year, they found 4,495 airline passengers carrying firearms, shattering the previous record of 4,432 firearms found in 2019.

In 2019, TSA agents discovered 5 firearms in carry-ons per one million passengers. In 2021, that number nearly doubled.

“The number of firearms that our TSA officers are stopping at airport checkpoints is alarming,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in the release. “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.”

Two Florida travel hubs also saw a historic number of firearms this year. At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Miami International Airport, passengers carried 109 and 61 firearms, respectively, the release continues.

TSA officials said Orlando International Airport discovered 84 firearms, while Tampa International Airport detected 76.

Passengers who carry guns at MCO will face a civil penalty of around $13,000, in addition to criminal penalties doled out by law enforcement officials, Orlando TSA officials said.

Travelers can travel with guns if they are declared with a designated airline at check-in, unloaded and placed in a locked, hard case.


About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.