TSA screened more than 800 million passengers in 2018, found 4,239 guns
WASHINGTON - The Transportation Security Administration, which screens passengers in American airports, says that 813.8 million people passed through its checkpoints in 2018 - a rise of 5.5 percent compared to the previous year.
"These efforts are a testament to the coordination and collaboration between our industry partners and the hardworking men and women of TSA," writes Jay Wagner in a TSA "year in review" blog post. "Throughout the year, TSA officers demonstrated great professionalism, dedication, integrity and remained committed to the mission to secure you – the traveling public. Thanks to their vigilance and skills, TSA officers intercepted a record number of firearms in 2018."
In total, the TSA intercepted 4,239 firearms that were in carry-on bags, which is an average of 81.6 per week, or 11.6 per day, which is a record high for the agency. Of the more than 4,000 firearms discovered, just over 86 percent were loaded, and a third had a round chambered. Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International, the world's busiest airport, topped the list with 298 firearms found.
The TSA has steadily discovered more guns every year in the past decade, with 926 found in 2008. The agency crossed the 2,000 gun mark in 2014, and topped 3,000 two years later. 2018 marked the first time more than 4,000 firearms were found in carry-ons.
"Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality," noted Wagner. "TSA may impose civil penalties of up to $13,333 per violation, per person for prohibited items violations and violations of other TSA regulations. Repeat violations will result in higher penalties. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure."
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