2022 leaves behind new record for firearms seized at US airline security checkpoints, TSA says

Orlando tops list of Florida locations, TSA says

ORLANDO, Fla. – Transportation Security Administration officers in 2022 confiscated 6,542 firearms across 262 U.S. airports, setting a new record even as higher penalties for being found with a gun in a carry-on bag settle in.

The new figure tops 2021′s record — 5,972, up from a pandemic-related dip of 3,257 in 2020 — by more than 500 confiscations. Not only has Orlando International Airport since moved far above Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to become Florida’s most trigger-happy airport in 2022, but Tampa International Airport is also on the top 10 list this time.

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According to the TSA, the U.S. airports with the most confiscated firearms in 2022 are as follows:

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — 448
  2. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport — 385
  3. Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport — 298
  4. Nashville International Airport — 213
  5. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport — 196
  6. Orlando International Airport — 162
  7. Denver International Airport — 156
  8. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport — 150
  9. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport — 134
  10. Tampa International Airport — 131

Given how around 761 million people passed through airports nationwide in 2022, the TSA surmised that one firearm was found per every 116,394 passengers screened in the U.S. last year.

The TSA in December announced it was increasing the maximum civil penalty for firearms violations to $14,950, up from $13,910. A violation of federal law, the penalty is applicable regardless of the arresting agency.

Reporting last summer that guns were being found at a rate of about 17 per day, the move was the TSA’s response to the high numbers already coming in — already 6,301 US confiscations by Dec. 16, a 10% increase from 2021 — of which nearly 90% of the weapons found were loaded.

The agency has published a list of advice one should follow if they want to fly efficiently, with or without a firearm:

  • No guns in carry-ons. Airline passengers can fly with firearms only in checked baggage. All firearms must be properly packed and declared at check-in, which means unloaded and in a locked, hard-sided case. Contact your airline for additional guidance. And it is your responsibility to know what the gun laws are on both sides of your trip because guns may not be legal to transport even in checked baggage in some jurisdictions.
  • Leave all prohibited items at home. To reduce the likelihood of a bag search at the checkpoint, search your own bag before leaving home. Unsure if it’s allowed: use the “What Can I Bring?” page on TSA.gov.
  • Prepare for the security checkpoint. Have a valid ID card readily available. Follow the liquids rule of 3.4 ounces or less, with the exception of hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12-ounce limit in carry-on baggage. Empty your pockets into your carry-on rather than into a bin.
  • Help is available. Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA in English or Spanish or via Facebook Messenger. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
  • Enroll now in TSA PreCheck. Travel with Ease by enrolling in TSA PreCheck and avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, food, laptops and light jackets. Most new enrollees receive a known traveler number within five days, and membership lasts for five years.

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About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.