The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, reports it seized a record number of firearms in the course of performing security checks at airports in 2014.
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
1. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): 120
2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): 109
3. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): 78
4. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH): 77
5. Denver International Airport (DEN): 70
6. William P. Hobby Airport (HOU): 50
7. Tampa International Airport (TPA): 49
8. Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL): 49
9. Nashville International Airport (BNA): 48
10. Orlando International Airport (MCO): 47
Each of the last seven years has seen a new high number of firearm discoveries or confiscations occur at the nation’s airports. Most agree the growing number of incidents is due to the increase in the number of persons who legally carry firearms for personal protection 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 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.
How about it? Do you take special precautions when you travel by air to ensure you haven’t accidentally forgotten a handgun or ammunition inside your luggage or carry-on items? Have you or someone you know ever had a firearm confiscated?