WASHINGTON — In 2015, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers intercepted 2,653 firearms in carry-on bags at airport security checkpoints across the United States. This is nearly 20 percent more than in the previous record-setting year. In 2014, TSA officers discovered 2,212 firearms in carry-on bags.
“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.”
In addition to intercepting a record number of firearms, TSA continued to enhance its security protocols in 2015 through the use of state-of-the-art technologies, improved passenger identification techniques, and best practices to strengthen transportation security across all modes of transportation. This led to several accomplishments, including:
- TSA screened more than 708 million passengers in 2015 (more than 1.9 million per day), which is 40.7 million more passengers than in 2014.
- TSA screened more than 2 million passengers in a single day 178 times this year.
- TSA screened more than 432 million checked bags, more than 1.6 billion carry-on bags and 12.9 million airport employees.
- Federal Air Marshals flew more than a billion miles this past year to keep travelers safe.
- Nationwide, 98 percent of passengers waited in line less than 20 minutes and more than 99 percent of TSA Pre✓® passengers waited less than five minutes.
- The TSA Pre✓® application program, which began in December 2013, enrolled over 1 million travelers in 2015, and reached a total of 2 million enrollees as of early January 2016. In addition to these enrollments, CBP trusted travelers — those enrolled in other trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI — are also automatically eligible for TSA Pre✓®.
- Forty-four percent of passengers screened in 2015 received some form of expedited screening.
Of the 2,653 firearms discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, 2,198 (82.8 percent) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at 236 airports; 12 more airports than last year.
The airports with the most firearm discoveries in 2015 were:
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: 153
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: 144
- Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport: 100
- Denver International Airport: 90
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport: 73
Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint may be subject to criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA. Weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are prohibited in carry-on bags. They must be transported in checked bags, and when doing so, they must be unloaded, properly packed and declared to the transporting airline. Travelers can watch this short travel tips video on how to properly transport a firearm.
Passengers who wish to travel with firearms should inform themselves about laws pertaining to the possession and transport of firearms in their departure state, destination state, and any state where they may have a connecting flight.
For a more detailed look at TSA’s activities in 2015, visit the TSA blog.
Public awareness is key to supporting TSA’s security efforts; therefore TSA encourages travelers to remember “If You See Something, Say Something™.” For further information about TSA procedures, or to provide feedback or voice concerns, please call the TSA Contact Center at 1-866-289-9673 or send a message via Twitter to @AskTSA.