NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Transportation Security Administration officers at Nashville International Airport (BNA) have discovered 81 firearms at security checkpoints to date in 2017, surpassing the total of 80 firearms found last year.
At approximately 5 a.m. Tuesday, an unloaded Smith & Wesson .40 caliber firearm was discovered in a passenger’s carry-on bag.
TSA immediately alerted airport police, who took possession of the bag and escorted the passenger out of the checkpoint area.
The increase in firearms at security checkpoints isn’t specific to Nashville. A total of 3,733 guns have been found nationwide through Nov. 13 of this year.
A total of 3,391 firearms were found at U.S. airport checkpoints in 2016, up from 2,653 in 2015.
While firearms may be transported in checked baggage (provided they are declared to the airline, in a proper carrying case and unloaded), they are prohibited in carry-on bags.
TSA would like to remind passengers that it is important for them to thoroughly search their bags for any potential dangerous weapons or prohibited items before departing for the airport.
Safety is the first concern of the TSA, and having these items in bags that are traveling with you on the aircraft is dangerous to other travelers and can be easily mistaken as an intentional attempt to bring a prohibited item onto an aircraft.
“Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the checkpoint,” said Mark Howell, TSA regional spokesperson. “Our advice is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.”
In addition to potential criminal charges, passengers who bring firearms to a checkpoint face civil penalties from TSA. For more information about TSA prohibited items, please check the prohibited items list and traveling with firearms.