TSA confiscates a record number of guns in 2022, an average of 18 a day

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent's patch on May 21, 2019 in Miami, Florida.
A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent's patch on May 21, 2019 in Miami, Florida. Photo credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images

While sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, the Transportation Security Administration was busy in 2022, confiscating more guns than ever at airport checkpoints in America. On average, 18 weapons were found at airports every day last year.

In total, the TSA confiscated 6,542 guns going through security checkpoints in carry-on luggage, 88% of which were loaded, the TSA shared. The weapons were found in 262 airports across the country, with some seeing guns pass through more frequently than others.

The administration shared that the top airport to see firearms come through its security points was the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which confiscated 448.

Other airports listed in the top five included Dallas Fort Worth International airport at two, after claiming 448 firearms; George Bush Intercontinental Airport, which confiscated 298; Nashville International Airport, with 213 guns; and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, with 196.

Some states saw more guns than others, as Texas and Florida accounted for six of the top 10 airports listed by the TSA.

The record number of firearm incidents in 2022 is up from 2021’s number of 5,972. As for why there were more incidents this year, the TSA says it is because there are more gun owners, and they are forgetting they have it with them while traveling.

When confronted about carrying a weapon, the TSA says that most travelers claim they didn’t remember having it on them.

David Pekoske, the TSA administrator, shared with The Associated Press that the uptick is also a reflection of society.

“What we see in our checkpoints really reflects what we’re seeing in society, and in society, there are more people carrying firearms nowadays,” Pekoske said.

As for what happened to those who owned the weapons, each airport and state handles the situation differently, but the TSA can incur fines of as much as $14,950. Passengers can also lose their PreCheck status if a gun is found.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images