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Record-breaking 6,500 guns were found at US airport checkpoints last year

Record-breaking 6,500 guns were found at US airport checkpoints last year

A record-breaking 6,542 guns were intercepted at US airports last year.

The figure is the highest of all time and is based on Transportation Security Administration (TSA) data.

This record number equates to around 18 guns being found every day at airport security checkpoints.

In a December press release, a TSA spokesperson said: “Firearm possession laws vary by state and local government, but firearms are never allowed in carry-on bags at any TSA security checkpoint, even if a passenger has a concealed weapon permit.”

The 10 US airports with the highest number of gun interceptions in 2022 include Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Nashville and Phoenix. Three Florida airports also made the list.

“I applaud the work of our Transportation Security Officers who do an excellent job of preventing firearms from getting into the secure area of airports, and onboard aircraft,” TSA administrator David Pekoske said.

There has been a link made between the increasing number of weapons intercepted during 2022 and the rising number of Americans carrying guns.

“What we see in our checkpoints really reflects what we’re seeing in society, and in society there are more people carrying firearms nowadays,” Mr Pekoske said.

Excluding 2020 when lockdown restrictions affected travel, these figures have steadily risen from 1,123 guns found at US airports in 2010 to 4,432 in 2019 and back up again to 5,972 in 2021.

Mr Pekoske explained: “When a passenger brings a firearm to the checkpoint, this consumes significant security resources and poses a potential threat to transportation security, in addition to being very costly for the passenger.”

Should a gun be found during airport security checks, the police are immediately called. Depending on local and state laws, the passenger can then either be arrested and/or have their firearm confiscated.

Alternatively, the person carrying the gun might be permitted to give it to a friend or family member who won’t be travelling on the plane with them.

Providing a gun is unloaded, it can be checked into the hold, if this is permitted by the airline.

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