TSA set record for guns caught at airport checkpoints nationwide in 2019
BOISE, Idaho - Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at six Idaho airports discovered a total of 24 firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage in 2019, three fewer than were discovered at the same six airports in 2018.
In every instance, these firearms were discovered by TSA officers during the routine screening of carry-on property at airport security checkpoints. Below is a summary of firearm discoveries at Idaho’s airports from 2017 to 2019.
Boise Airport (BOI)
Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN)
Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA)
Pocatello Regional Airport (PIH)
Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport (LWS)
Magic Valley Regional Airport (TWF)
“I am very proud of the fact that Idaho bucked the national trend of a 5% increase in guns found at checkpoints,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Idaho Andy Coose. “We work very hard with our airport managers in Idaho and our law enforcement stakeholders to get the word out to Idahoans about the proper way to transport firearms, including creative signage at the Boise Airport. It appears that our efforts and our partners have paid off this past year.”
Nationwide, TSA officers found 4,432 firearms in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints, averaging about 12 firearms per day and an increase of 5% from the total of 4,239 detected in 2018. Eighty-seven percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded.
The top five airports for firearm discoveries in 2019 were: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International with 323; Dallas/Fort Worth International with 217; Denver International with 140; Houston Intercontinental with 138 and Phoenix Sky Harbor International with 132.
In addition to potential criminal citations, travelers face civil penalties for bringing firearms to the security checkpoint and TSA evaluates each firearm incident on a case-by-case basis. Two factors TSA considers when determining the civil penalty amount include whether the firearm was loaded and whether there was accessible ammunition.
The recommended civil penalty for a firearm starts at $2,050 and can go up to a maximum of $10,250 per violation. Even if a traveler has a concealed weapons permit, firearms are not permitted in carry-on luggage.
In addition to civil penalties, individuals who violate rules regarding traveling with firearms will have Trusted Traveler status and TSA Pre✓® expedited screening benefits revoked for a period of time. The duration of the disqualification will depend upon the seriousness of the offense and if there is a repeated history of violations.
Firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage. Ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are also prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be checked. Any type of replica firearm is prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.
At the airport during the check-in process, a passenger needs to go to the airline ticket counter to declare the firearm, ammunition and any firearm parts. Prior to traveling, passengers are encouraged to check gun laws and regulations at their destination to ensure they are in compliance with local and state laws. TSA also recommends travelers check with their airline prior to their flight to ensure they comply with any airline-specific requirements.
Additional traveler information specifically related to the commercial air transport of firearms and ammunition can be found at http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition. More information on TSA’s civil penalties for prohibited items can be found at https://www.tsa.gov/travel/civil-enforcement
TSA reminds passengers to be aware of the contents of their carry-on bag prior to coming to the security checkpoint. TSA has multiple resources available to passengers to help them determine whether an item is permitted in carry-on baggage, checked baggage or not at all.
Travelers can use the “Can I Bring?” feature on the TSA mobile app, myTSA, or visit https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/all. Travelers can also Tweet or Message “AskTSA” 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.
TSA officers continued their overall vigilance in protecting our nation’s transportation systems in 2019, including catching unusual prohibited items at the checkpoints. For more specific information on guns at airports and other unusual items that are brought to airports by travelers, visit the 2019 Year in Review on the TSA Blog for photos and graphics.