The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects to surpass last year’s record of 6,542 firearm interceptions at United States (US) airports.
In new data released by the government agency on July 10, 2023, the TSA confirmed officials intercepted 3,251 firearms at airport security checkpoints during the first half of 2023, which ended on June 30.
The total represents an average 18 firearms per day at TSA checkpoints of which more than 92% were loaded.
This is an increase from the first half of 2022 when Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) stopped 3,053 firearms at security checkpoints of which more than 86% were loaded.
Although the rate at which passengers bring firearms to airport security checkpoints has actually declined in 2023, the number of passengers traveling has also increased, so the agency is expected to surpass last year’s record of 6,542 firearm interceptions.
“Anyone traveling with a firearm must follow the rules and pack it properly in checked baggage in addition to declaring it to the airline,” said TSA administrator David Pekoske. “Passengers who bring a firearm to the security checkpoint present a security risk, and there are consequences for doing so. I applaud the work of our Transportation Security Officers for their dedication to our transportation security mission, ensuring these firearms do not get into the secure area of the airport and on board aircraft.”
When passengers bring firearms to the TSA security checkpoint, TSOs contact local law enforcement to check the contents of the carry-on bag, safely unload and take possession of the firearm and process the passenger in accordance with local laws on firearms.
Firearm possession laws vary by state and local government, but firearms are prohibited at TSA security checkpoints, in the secure area of an airport, and on board aircraft, even if a passenger has a concealed carry permit.