More than 771 million people passed through airport security across the country last year. Mixed in among the liquids and wrapped presents, Transportation Security Administration agents are finding something else in passengers’ carry-ons: thousands of loaded guns.
From 2015 to 2017, the TSA found at least 9,866 firearms in carry-on baggage at airports nationwide. Four of the top 10 airports were in Texas. Dallas-Fort Worth came in at No. 2, and Love Field at No. 9.
Unlike laptops or liquids under three ounces, firearms are listed on TSA’s prohibited items list, meaning that like aerosol containers and lighters, they’re not allowed in the cabin and can only be packed in a checked bag.
Guns and America, a National Public Radio journalism collaboration, analyzed data released by the TSA. It showed a dramatic increase in the number of guns found at airport security checkpoints. The TSA found 3,896 guns at U.S. airports last year — 49 percent more than the 2,608 found in 2015.
More than 85 percent of these guns were loaded, and more than three out of every 10 firearms found were “round-chambered” and ready to shoot.
The analysis of TSA data paints a picture of the firearms floating around our communities every day. Many of the guns found at airport security were left in the bottom of bags or in purses, forgotten until their owner slid their carry-on bag through screening equipment.