WASHINGTON (WHTM) — The Transportation Security Administration has announced they expect to surpass the 2022 record of firearm interceptions at airport security checkpoints for 2023.
The TSA states that 6,542 firearms were intercepted in 2022. During the first three quarters of 2023, the administration has intercepted 5,072 firearms. At the current rate, the agency will surpass last year’s record, which is according to the administration.
“Passengers may travel with a firearm, but it must be in their checked baggage,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “Firearms are only permitted in checked baggage, unloaded in a locked hard-sided case, and must be declared to the airline when checking the bag at the ticket counter. Firearms are prohibited at security checkpoints, in the secure area of an airport, or in the passenger cabin of an aircraft even if a passenger has a concealed carry permit or is in a constitutional carry jurisdiction.”
In the third quarter of 2023, which ended on Sept. 30, the TSA stopped 1,820 firearms at checkpoints. This is an average of 19.8 firearms per day. The TSA said that 94% of guns that were stopped were loaded.
Locally, Harrisburg International Airport had a record year in 2022 with 10 guns found. Halfway through 2023, TSA agents found seven firearms, several of which were loaded.
If a passenger brings a firearm to the TSA checkpoint, the TSO will contact local law enforcement to safely unload and take possession of the firearm. The law enforcement officer may also arrest or cite the passenger, depending on local law.
The TSA may also impose a civil penalty of almost $15,000 and may lose TSA PreCheck eligibility for 5 years. To see the full list of penalties, click here.
TSA recommends that passengers pack a carry-on bag that is empty to ensure no firearms are unintentionally left in their travel bag.