TSA Has Recovered a Record Number of Firearms in 2021
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says that its officers have detected a record number of firearms at airport security checkpoints this year. This surge has resulted in a 20-year record with three months remaining in the calendar year. And this is happening while there are fewer passengers traveling due to the pandemic.
By October 3rd of this year, TSA officers had stopped 4,495 airline passengers from carrying firearms onto their flights, surpassing the previous record of 4,432 firearms caught at checkpoints in the full calendar year 2019. TSA officers discovered 11 firearms in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints per million passengers screened so far in 2021. This compares to 5 firearms per million passengers in 2019.
“The number of firearms that our TSA officers are stopping at airport checkpoints is alarming,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in the announcement. “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.”
Flying with a firearm is not illegal. But firearms must go into checked baggage and must be unloaded and packed in a locked, hard-sided case. The passenger must also declare and present the case with the firearm at the airline check-in counter and inform the airline representative of their intention to travel with the firearms. Firearms are transported with checked baggage and are placed in the cargo hold of the aircraft. Firearms are not permitted in the passenger cabin of an airplane. This includes travelers with a concealed weapon permit.
TSA advises that travelers know state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure to ensure they transport firearms in accordance with applicable law. Airlines may also have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.