The TSA's 2018 Year in Review. (Photo: TSA)
It’s no secret that it is illegal for passengers to bring firearms, loaded or not, to airport security checkpoints.
Yet, in 2018, the Transportation Security Administration found a record-setting 4,239 firearms in carry-on bags at 249 airport checkpoints around the country.
That’s more than a 7 percent increase over the 3,957 firearms discovered at airport checkpoints in 2017, averaging out to 81.6 firearms a week and 11.6 firearms a day, according to the TSA’s Year in Review, which was released today.
Perhaps more alarming, of the 4,255 firearms found last year, more than 86 percent (3,656) were loaded (another record) and almost 34 percent (1,432) had a round chambered.
The TSA’s Year in Review also lists the top 10 airports for firearm discoveries in 2018.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), tops that list, with 298 firearms (253 loaded), an increase of 53 compared to 2017.
ATL, which regularly sets records for the busiest airport (in terms of passenger count), also set a record for the airport with the most firearms discovered in one month: In August 2018, 32 firearms were found at ATL checkpoints.
Some of the firearms found at airport checkpoints in 2018. (Photo: TSA)
Here’s the rest of the TSA’s top 10 list of airports for firearms discoveries in 2018:
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: 219 (193 loaded)
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport: 129 (120 loaded)
Denver International Airport: 126 (95 loaded)
Orlando International Airport: 123 (112 loaded)
George Bush Intercontinental Airport: 117 (115 loaded). Some good news here: this is a decrease of 25 compared to 2017.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport: 96 (80 loaded)
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport: 93 (76 loaded)
Dallas Love Field Airport: 89 (83 loaded)
Nashville International Airport: 86 (80 loaded)
While the laws regarding firearm possession vary by state and locality, TSA is able to, and regularly does, impose civil penalties of up to $13,333 per violation, per person for prohibited items violations and violations of other TSA regulations.
In a year when the TSA also screened a record number of travelers (813.8 million; a 5.5 percent increase over 2017), the agency’s officers also found a wide variety of prohibited items and “artfully concealed” objects other than firearms in carry-on bags, including inert grenades, a bottle of lighter fluid, fireworks and knife combs.
The TSA’s week in review also notes the loss of Curtis “Blogger Bob” Burns, the charmingly corny employee who chronicled the agency’s odd finds on the TSA blog, on Twitter and on Instagram. Burns is featured in quirky videos highlighting the TSA’s most unusual finds for 2016 and 2017 and the TSA’s Year in Review promises that a video highlighting 2018’s most unusual finds will be released soon.
TODAY IN THE SKY: ‘Blogger Bob’ Burns, TSA’s surprise social media star, dies
Some of the prohibited items found at airport checkpoints in 2018. (Photo: TSA)
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