The US Transportation Security Administration intercepted a record number of firearms at US airports in 2022, with more than 6,300 recovered.
A record broken despite the heavy consequences. The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said on Friday it intercepted 6,301 firearms at airports across the country in 2022 during security screening, 88% of which were loaded. By the end of the year, authorities expect the number to reach 6,600 weapons found in carry-on luggage, a 10 percent increase from last year.
The TSA also recently increased the maximum civil penalty for gun violations to $14,950. However, there are no criminal penalties for passengers caught with a gun in their luggage, and airport security officers are not required to confiscate any weapons found. The police are usually called to the scene to decide whether the weapon should be confiscated or not.
Under current US law, travelers may, under certain strict conditions, carry an unloaded firearm in checked baggage in the hold once it is declared at the counter. However, it is strictly forbidden to carry them in hand luggage, even with a weapons permit.
oversights in most cases
“When a passenger brings a gun to the checkpoint, it consumes significant security resources and poses a potential threat to transportation security, in addition to being very costly to the passenger,” David Pekoske, administrator of the TSA, said in a statement, CNN reported.
With the exception of a drop in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the shutdown of air transport, the number of firearms intercepted has risen steadily since 2010.
According to David Fitz, spokesman for the US Transportation Security Administration, the most common reason given by passengers for having a weapon in their luggage is forgetfulness, the New York Times reported.
If the increase in the sale of firearms in the country may be a factor in the increase in seizures at airports, according to the US administration, it depends more on the states’ laws regarding the carrying of weapons. In particular, David Fitz indicated that this trend was particularly visible in “those parts of the country where open and concealed handgun licenses are more numerous”, and especially in the southern states.