TSA detected record number of firearms at checkpoints in 2015

Guns detected at Upstate New York area airport checkpoints remained steady
Local Press Release
Thursday, January 21, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. – Every day, Transportation Security Administration officers interact with nearly two million travelers across the United States with a single goal in mind – ensuring the safety of the traveling public. TSA had a busy year in 2015, screening more than 708 million  passengers, or 40.7 million more passengers than in 2014.                  

TSA officers continued their vigilance in protecting our nation’s transportation systems in 2015, including catching unusual items at the checkpoints. (For more specific information on unusual items, visit the TSA Blog for photos and graphics.)                    

In total, 2,653 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging more than seven firearms per day, approximately a 20 percent increase in firearm discoveries from the total of 2,212 in 2014.

“The transport of firearms by commercial air in carry-on bags represents a threat to the safety and security of air travelers. Through increased training in detection methods, our officers are becoming more adept at intercepting these prohibited items,” said TSA Administrator Peter V. Neffenger. “I am proud of the men and women who serve in the TSA and grateful for their hard work in the past year.”

The top five airports where TSA officers detected guns at checkpoints in 2015 were: Dallas/Fort Worth International with 153; Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International with 144; George Bush Intercontinental at Houston with 100; Denver International Airport with 90 and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with 73. These same airports were in the top five for guns at checkpoints in 2014.   

The Upstate New York region saw 10 firearms detected by TSA officers at checkpoints in 2015 compared to 11 in 2014.  

TSA Firearm Catches at Checkpoints in Airports in Upstate New York Region
Airport Number of Firearms Caught in 2013 Number of Firearms Caught in 2014 Number of Firearms Caught in 2015
Albany International Airport (ALB) 0 3 1
Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) 4 3 2
Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC) 0 3 5
Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) 1 2 2
Totals 5 11 10

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. TSA advises travelers to familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure to ensure that they have the proper gun permits for the states that they are traveling to and from. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition so travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies prior to arriving at the airport.

Weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are never permitted in carry-on bags, but they can be transported in checked bags if they are properly packed and declared to the airline.

TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm.