More people with firearms were stopped by TSA in the first 9 months of 2021 than in any of the last 20 years

TSA
A TSA agent waits for passengers to use the TSA PreCheck lane at Miami International Airport on October 4, 2011 in Miami, Florida.
  • The TSA stopped more people with firearms at airports in 2021 than in any of the last 20 years.
  • By early October, the TSA stopped 4,495 passengers with firearms at security checkpoints.
  • For every 1 million people who went through a checkpoint, 11 firearms were found in carry-on bags.

The Transportation Security Administration has stopped more people with firearms at airports in 2021 so far than they have in any of the last 20 years, the agency said on Wednesday.

By early October, the TSA stopped 4,495 passengers who were trying to bring firearms onto an airplane, breaking the previous record of 4,432 passengers during all of 2019.

For every 1 million passengers who went through a TSA checkpoint, 11 firearms were found in carry-on bags, the agency said, compared to five in every 1 million two years prior.

"The number of firearms that our TSA officers are stopping at airport checkpoints is alarming," said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in a statement.

"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," he added.

According to the agency's website, passengers are allowed to transport firearms in checked baggage if they are declared to the airlines ahead of time and packaged in a locked casing.

If a passenger brings a firearm to an airport checkpoint, the TSA said penalties vary based on if the gun is loaded and the number of past offenses.

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