Number of guns detected at TSA checkpoints in New York City region’s airports increased in 2022

Local Press Release
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
This loaded handgun was detected by TSA officers at a Newark Liberty International Airport security checkpoint in January 2022. (TSA photo)

NEW YORK -- Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers stopped 39 handguns at New York City area airport checkpoints in 2022, an increase from the 26 guns caught in 2021. Each of the firearms were discovered by TSA officers during the routine screening of carry-on property at airport security checkpoints.

The biggest jump in the number of firearms was seen at LaGuardia Airport where TSA officers detected 11 handguns in 2022, up from four caught in 2021. It marked the highest number of guns stopped by TSA at LaGuardia. Westchester County Airport recorded an increase from zero to four guns stopped at the checkpoint from 2021 to 2022. Newark Liberty International Airport recorded a slight increase from 12 to 14 guns. New York Stewart International Airport also saw an uptick from one to three guns caught from 2021 to 2022. John F. Kennedy International Airport was the only airport in the New York City region that noted a decrease in the number of firearms brought to checkpoints in 2022 from nine stopped in 2021 down to seven guns last year.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 6,542 firearms at airport security checkpoints in 2022. It was a significant increase from the 5,972 detected in 2021 and a spike from the 4,432 detected in 2019 (pre pandemic).  Of the guns caught in 2022, approximately 88 percent were loaded. Firearms were caught at 262 airport checkpoints nationwide.

TSA firearms catches at New York City area airport checkpoints, 2018 to 2022

 

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

14

11

11

12

14

LaGuardia Airport (LGA)

2

7

3

4

11

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

2

8

2

9

7

Westchester County Airport

0

1

0

0

4

New York Stewart International Airport (SWF)

0

0

1

1

3

Long Island MacArthur Airport (ISP)

2

1

0

0

0

Total

20

27

17

26

39

Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA. Even if a traveler has a concealed weapon permit, firearms are not permitted to be carried onto an airplane. However, travelers with proper firearm permits can travel legally with their firearms in their checked bags if they follow a few simple guidelines.

A TSA officer at LaGuardia Airport detected this loaded handgun in a carry-on bag at a security checkpoint in April 2022. (TSA photo)
A TSA officer at LaGuardia Airport detected this loaded handgun in a carry-on bag at a security checkpoint in April 2022. (TSA photo)

Top 10 airports with guns caught by TSA at checkpoints in 2022

Rank

Airport (Code)

Total

1

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

448

2

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

385

3

Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)

298

4

Nashville International Airport (BNA)

213

5

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)

196

6

Orlando International Airport (MCO)

162

7

Denver International Airport (DEN)

156

8

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)

150

9

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)

 134

10

Tampa International Airport

.ong as deemed necessary.  We with andl tment of Homeland Security as well as t the country in they.  pose a threat to our avi (TPA)

131

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.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded and packed in a locked hard-side case. Ammunition must be in its original box and can be packed inside the hard-side case, next to the firearm. Even if the box of ammunition is not full, the bullets must be in their original case. The case with the firearm should be brought to the airline check-in counter to be declared with the airline representative. Firearms are transported in the belly of the aircraft so that nobody has access to them during the flight. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its web site.

Individuals who bring weapons to a checkpoint are subject to federal civil penalties of up to $15,000. The complete list of penalties is posted online. In addition to civil penalties, individuals who violate rules regarding traveling with firearms will have Trusted Traveler status and TSA PreCheck® expedited screening benefits revoked. 

National statistics: Firearms caught

by TSA at checkpoints, 2008 to 2022

Year

Nationwide

2022

6,542

2021

5,972

2020

3,257

2019

4,432

2018

4,239

2017

 3,957

2016

3,391

2015

2,653

2014

2,212

2013

1,813

2012

1,556

2011

1,320

2010

1,123

2009

976

2008

926

Travelers can use the “What Can I Bring?” feature on the TSA website or on the free downloadable myTSA app. Travelers can also tweet to @AskTSA or send a text message (275-872) if they have a travel question or are unsure if an item is allowed through security in a carry-on bag. Just snap a picture or send a question and get real-time assistance.

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