Does it seem like we’re discovering more firearms at the checkpoint, or is it just another 2020 anomaly?
The man on the street may ask, “So, what is going on with all these guns at the checkpoints?” But the actions of TSA Officers at more than 400 airports across the country who have found more than 2,000 firearms so far this year are telling the traveling public, “Don’t worry, we are keeping you and your families safe.”
“TSA is diligently working to ensure our employees and passengers are safe and secure while traveling during a pandemic, and yet we are noticing a significant increase in loaded firearms coming into checkpoints,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in an August 10 press release.
When you crunch the numbers, we appear to be headed somewhere between the 2015 and 2016 yearly totals of 2,573 and 3,300. Though we are only processing about a third of the passengers from a year ago, the number of firearms found at the checkpoint hasn’t noticeably decreased. Actually, between late June and the first part of September, the number of gun catches dramatically increased. In July, the rate of guns per million passengers tripled compared to the same month a year ago – 5.1 to 15.3 firearms per million passengers, respectively.
This topic is receiving national attention, and with more than 30 catches since August 31, it’s not difficult to see why. Not only are we discovering more firearms, we’re often finding more than one in a bag and multiple times during the day, week and month at an airport.
“Our TSA Officers are very skilled at detecting firearms and other prohibited items,” said Roanoke-Blacksburg (Virginia) Regional Airport TSA Federal Security Director Chuck Burke. “I strongly urge passengers to be certain they don’t have any prohibited or illegal items in their carry-ons or checked bags before arriving at the airport.”
It’s important to note that even if local law enforcement does not take action, it does not mean TSA won’t. TSA may choose to impose a civil penalty and/or suspend the offender’s TSA PreCheck™ membership.
So the take away is yes – TSA is seeing an increase in firearms found at the checkpoints – and TSA Officers are working diligently to ensure that all passengers can travel safely and freely throughout America.