I am sure it’s not a statistic that makes anyone feel ecstatic about flying: There was a 20% increase in firearm discoveries at TSA airport checkins from 2014’s total of 2,212.
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It’s an astounding number really, but the details get worse. The TSA goes onto say 2,653 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging more than seven firearms per day. Of those, 2,198 (83%) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at a total of 236 airports; 12 more airports than last year.
Previously the TSA has celebrated the fact that it had discovered so many guns and thus kept airline travel that much safer. In a 2014 release the agency noted: [Since Jan. 1] a total of 3,048 firearms, firearm components, replica firearms, stun guns, and other similar dangerous objects have been discovered by TSA from passengers in their carry-on luggage.
Last year a TSA spokesman, when asked of the TSA has a theory on why so many more guns are being brought onboard airlines, Tweeted “The vast majority of passengers just tell law enforcement, ‘I forgot.’ We continue to remind passengers they can check them.”
Hard to swallow that excuse in this day and age.
The TSA has stated in the past that it is legal to travel with firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline. “Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure. Each time we find a dangerous item, the line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $7,500. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home. 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,” the TSA stated.
Meanwhile, according to the TSA, the Top 10 airports for gun catches in 2015
1. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): 153
2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): 144
3. George Bush Intercontinental Airport - Houston (IAH): 100
4. Denver International Airport (DEN): 90
5. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): 73
6. Nashville International Airport (BNA): 59
7. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA): 59
8. Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL): 57
9. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS): 54
10. William P. Hobby Airport (HOU): 52
Some other TSA facts about 2015:
- TSA officers screened 708,316,339 million passengers (more than 1.9 million per day), 40,780,330 million more than for the same timeframe in 2014.
- TSA officers screened 1.6 billion carry-on bags, 432 million checked bags and 12.9 million airport employees.
- Federal air marshals flew more than a billion miles this past year.
- Nationwide, less than two percent of passengers waited in line longer than 20 minutes.
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