The Transportation Security Administration said it caught 4,495 passengers at airport security checkpoints trying to carry firearms on board their flight in the first nine months of this year, the most in the 20 years since the agency was founded.
Guns were confiscated from 391 travelers at Atlanta’s airport, the most in the nation this year, followed by Dallas/ForthWorth International Airport with 232 and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston with 168.
Roughly 80% of the guns confiscated by TSA so far this year were loaded, CNN reported.
The previous record was set in 2019, when the TSA confiscated 4,432 firearms at checkpoints, or an average of five firearms in carry-on bags per million passengers screened.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske said the number of firearms found at checkpoints this year is “alarming.”
“We’ve had many more incidences where there are passenger disturbances both in checkpoints and onboard aircraft. That makes it more important that there are no guns involved,” Pekoske told CNN.
Fines for carrying an unloaded gun in a carry-on at an airport check range between $1,500 and $2,475, while carrying a loaded gun or an unloaded gun with ammunition could bring fines up to $13,910, according to the TSA’s website. The release of the TSA’s firearm report comes as U.S. airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration are dealing with a record number of flight disturbances and unruly passengers. The FAA has received 4,724 unruly passenger reports and 3,433 reports of mask incidents so far this year. As of August 19, the agency said it issued more than $1 million in fines for unruly behavior. Last month, a passenger was arrested for allegedly choking and kicking a flight attendant on a JetBlue flight, and in a separate incident, a Hawaiian Airlines passenger was also arrested for punching a flight attendant.
Airlines And TSA Agents Grapple With Rise In Unruly Passengers (Forbes)
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