Passengers Have Brought 700 Guns to TSA Checkpoints Across Florida This Year

12 Airports in Florida Have Already Set a Local Record
Local Press Release
Thursday, November 3, 2022

Passengers across the state of Florida have brought a record number of guns to the Transportation Security Administration’s checkpoints. The year-to-date number of 700 guns is already higher than in any previous year and includes records set at 12 individual airports.

The largest number of guns TSA officers have had to intercept were:  129 guns at Orlando International Airport (MCO), 120 guns at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), 102 guns at Tampa International (TPA), 83 guns at Miami International (MIA), 58 guns at Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), 37 guns at Southwest Florida International (RSW), 28 at Palm Beach International (PBI), and 24 at Pensacola International (PNS). The 12 airports which have set a local record were MCO, MIA, JAX, RSW, Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) with 22, St. Pete-Clearwater International (PIE) with 17, Tallahassee International (TLH) and Sarasota Bradenton International (SRQ) with 13 each; Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV) and Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) with 10 each; Daytona Beach International (DAB) with eight; and Melbourne Orlando International (MLB) with five. Every federalized airport in the state is represented in the 700.

Nearly every one of these guns was loaded and most had ammunition chambered.

“An accidental discharge could result in tragedy,” said TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz.  “Every passenger bares the responsibility of knowing exactly where their gun is before entering the security checkpoint.”

Many of these passengers were arrested or issued notices to appear in court. Koshetz advises: “Don’t let bringing a gun to a federal checkpoint be the reason you cannot answer ‘no’ to the question often asked on job applications: have you ever been arrested.”

Passengers face a civil penalty from the TSA that can reach as much as $13,910 and that is imposed regardless of whether the individual is arrested by our law enforcement partners.  If the traveler is in the TSA PreCheck program, those privileges will be lost for a period of time, possibly permanently.

“As we enter the busiest holiday travel period, remember if you are going to travel with your gun it must be in your checked bag, but be sure you know what the gun laws are on each side of your trip or you may be heading to jail instead of to your family gathering,” Koshetz added. “Guns may not be legal to transport even in checked baggage in some jurisdictions.”

Every year FLL, TPA and MCO are typically in the top 10 or 11 airports across the country for passengers violating federal law by bringing guns to the TSA checkpoints.

Here are five tips for getting through the TSA checkpoint as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Tip 1: No guns in carry-ons. Firearms must be in checked baggage. All firearms must be properly packed and declared to the airline at check-in, which means unloaded and in a locked, hard-sided case. Contact your airline for additional guidance. And it is your responsibility to know what the gun laws are on both sides of your trip.

Tip 2: Leave all prohibited items at home. To reduce the likelihood of a bag search at the checkpoint, search your own bag before leaving home. Unsure if it’s allowed: use the “What Can I Bring?” link on

Tip 3: Prepare for the security checkpoint. Have a valid ID card readily available. Follow the liquids, gels and aerosols rule of 3.4 ounces or less, with the exception of hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12-ounce limit in carry-on baggage. Empty your pockets into your carry-on rather than into a bin.

Tip 4: Help is available. Get live assistance by tweeting your questions to @AskTSA in English or Spanish or via Facebook Messenger. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.

Tip 5: Enroll now in TSA PreCheck. Travel with ease by enrolling in TSA PreCheck and avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, laptops and light jackets. Most new enrollees receive a known traveler number within five days, and membership lasts for five years.