'Alarming': TSA finds record number of firearms at airport checkpoints in 2021

TSA officers have found a record number of firearms at airport security checkpoints in 2021, with two and a half months to go before the end of the year and fewer travelers, officials announced.

Transportation Security Administration officers stopped 4,495 passengers from taking their firearms onto fights, breaking the previous record of 4,432 firearms found for the entire calendar year of 2019. Officers reported finding 11 firearms in carry-on bags at security checkpoints per million passengers in 2021. In 2019, officers found five firearms per million passengers.

Passengers can travel with firearms in checked baggage, though possession laws vary by state and local governments. TSA states firearms in checked baggage must be declared at check-in and they must be unloaded and packed in a locked, hard-sided case. Passengers should know the firearm regulations for the areas they are traveling to. Also, airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms.


TSA assesses a civil penalty to passengers bringing firearms. Those penalties vary due to the number of previous violations and whether the firearm was loaded.

"The number of firearms that our TSA officers are stopping at airport checkpoints is alarming," said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. "Firearms, particularly loaded firearms, introduce an unnecessary risk at checkpoints, have no place in the passenger cabin of an airplane, and represent a very costly mistake for the passengers who attempt to board a flight with them."

For more information, visit TSA’s website.



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