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Transportation Security Administration

Atlanta sets new monthly record for most TSA checkpoint gun discoveries

Local Press Release
Wednesday, June 6, 2018

ATLANTA - Transportation Security Administration officers working at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) security checkpoints discovered 30 firearms in May, the most ever at an airport in a single month. 

ATL held the previous record of 27, found in September 2016.

During the course of the record-breaking month, there were several days when TSA discovered multiple firearms in the carry-on bags of passengers flying out of ATL. TSA officers discovered four firearms May 3 and four more May 6. Three were detected by TSA officers May 26.

TSA continues to see increases in the number of guns brought to TSA checkpoints, both locally and nationwide. Through the end of May 2018, TSA officers at ATL had discovered 108 firearms, up from 91 for the same time period in 2017. More than 1,700 guns have been found at TSA security checkpoints nationwide so far this year.

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.

Security is the first concern of the TSA, and having these weapons in bags that are traveling with passengers 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. 

Individuals who bring weapons to a checkpoint are subject to federal civil penalties of up to $13,000. Even individuals with gun carry permits are not permitted to carry a gun on an aircraft. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. The gun must be brought to the airline check-in counter to be placed in the belly of the plane with other checked baggage. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.

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