From Feb. 1 through 17, TSA screened 34 million passengers and discovered 201 firearms in carry-on bags. Of the 201 firearms discovered, 63 were loaded and 28 had a round chambered. Bringing a firearm through the security checkpoint may result in a civil penalty of up to $13,333 and a disqualification from TSA Pre✓®. Repeat violations will result in higher penalties.
Learn how to properly travel with your firearms in checked baggage. Note that airline policies may differ from TSA’s, so we strongly recommend travelers check with their airline prior to traveling. Travelers should also review state and local firearm laws at both their departure and destination, as they vary.
All of the firearms pictured above were discovered in carry-on bags from Feb. 1 through17. View the full list of firearm discoveries.
Top row from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport:
- TSA officers discovered a loaded 9 mm Smith & Wesson on Feb. 13. Law enforcement issued a citation to the passenger. On the same day, a loaded .380 Smith & Wesson pistol with a round chambered was discovered. Law enforcement issued a citation to the passenger.
- TSA officers discovered a loaded 9 mm Springfield pistol on Feb. 17.
Middle row from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport:
- TSA officers discovered a loaded .380 Ruger in a carry-on bag during X-ray screening on Feb. 11.
- On Feb. 13, TSA officers discovered a loaded .380 Smith & Wesson during X-ray screening.
- TSA officers found a loaded .380 Ruger was discovered during X-ray screening on Feb. 15.
Bottom row from Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport:
- During X-ray screening, a loaded .380 Glock with a round chambered was discovered on Feb. 10. Law enforcement issued a citation to the passenger.
- A loaded .380 Ruger was discovered during screening on Feb. 12. Law enforcement arrested the passenger.
- This loaded .40 Glock was the second of three firearms discovered on Feb. 12 during X-ray screening. Law enforcement arrested the passenger.
You can’t help but wonder where people are going that requires them to pack this stuff. If you’re planning on attending a class on blade sharpening or heading to a gun show for hearing-concious firearm enthusiasts, we recommend packing your blades and firearm suppressors in your checked bags. Packing these items in your carry-on bag may result in a civil penalty or arrest.
- On the left, an 11-inch hatchet, throwing star, doubled edge knife, and a 13-inch machete were discovered in a passenger’s carry-on bag at Colorado Springs on Feb. 10.
- On the right, a homemade firearm suppressor, or for the movie buffs – a silencer, was discovered in a carry-on bag at Witchita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport on Feb. 12.
Knives, ammunition and self-defense weapons are allowed in checked bags. However, laws regulating possession of these items can vary from city to city, so be sure to do your homework before packing similar items. You can always check our website for what items are allowed in carry-on and checked bags.
Other notable items discovered in carry-on bags around the country include:
- A 2-inch pen knife was discovered at Newport News Williamsburg International Airport on Feb. 1.
- Akron-Canton Airport officers discovered a throwing star necklace on Feb. 2.
- Four throwing knives were discovered at Florence Regional Airport on Feb. 13.
- Three throwing knives were discovered at Ontario International Airport on Feb. 8.
- An expandable baton along with 100 rounds of .40-caliber and 60 rounds of .233-caliber ammunition were discovered at El Paso International Airport on Feb. 10
- Brass knucles with a blade attachment were discovered at St. Louis Lambert International Airport on Feb. 15.
TSA screening procedures prevent prohibited items and other threats to transportation security from entering the sterile area of the airport. Along with the finds highlighted in this post, our officers regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, BB and pellet guns, airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, stun guns, small pocket knives, and many other dangerous items.
As seen in the examples above, travelers often claim to have forgotten a prohibited item is in their bag. This can lead to a citation and in some cases arrest. Unfortunately, this happens far too often, so take the time to check your bags and the rules before heading to the airport.
Want to know how many firearms we found last year? Check out our 2018 blog post.