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TSA Seized Record Breaking Number Of Loaded Guns In 2018

By Parker Diakite

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Airport security screeners discovered a record-breaking number of firearms in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country in 2018. They found 4,239 guns.

That’s an average of 81 firearms per week and 12 firearms per day.

The total number of firearms confiscated in 2018 marks roughly a 7 percent increase from 2017 when security agents found 3,957 firearms, according to the Transportation Security Administration’s Year in Review.

What’s more alarming is that the bulk of those guns, at least 86 percent, were loaded at the time of discovery. 33 percent had a round chambered, according to the report.

The guns were found at 249 of the 440 federalized airports across the country, and a third of the incidents occurred at the same airports.

For the second year in a row, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport had the most firearms seized, with 298 guns found in passenger carry-on bags. 253 of these guns were loaded.


Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport ranked second in most firearms seized, with 219 found.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport was also another airport where 129 firearms were taken.

In addition to guns, screeners found three smoke grenades in a checked bag at Nashville International Airport; a bottle of lighter fluid from a passenger’s carry-on bag traveling from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport; and five replica mortar shells were discovered from a checked bag of an Orlando International Airport passenger.

According to a statement on TSA’s website,  firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and agents may impose civil penalties of up to $13,333 per violation, per person for prohibited items and other violations.

“Repeat violations will result in higher penalties,” a statement reads on TSA’s website. “Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.”

Below are the top 10 airports that led in firearm discoveries in 2018:

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): 298 – an increase of 53 compared to 2017 (253 loaded)
  2. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): 219 (193 loaded)
  3. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): 129 (120 loaded
  4. Denver International Airport (DEN): 126 (95 loaded)
  5. Orlando International Airport (MCO): 123 (112 loaded)
  6. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH): 117 – a decrease of 25 firearms compared to 2017 (115 loaded)
  7. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL): 96 (80 loaded)
  8. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS): 93 (76 loaded)
  9. Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL): 89 (83 loaded)
  10. Nashville International Airport (BNA): 86 (80 loaded)

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