Employees of the Transportation Security Administration more than 6,542 firearms were confiscated from airport passengers in 2022 – the highest number since the establishment of the agency. The agency announced Tuesday that 88 percent of the guns seized at airport checkpoints were loaded.

TSA seizures represent a nearly 10% increase from the 5,972 firearms seized in 2021, also a record.

In December, the agency announced an increase in the maximum civil penalty for firearms violations from $13,910 to $14,950.

These were the airports with the most guns seized last year.

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: 448
  2. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: 385
  3. George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston: 298
  4. Nashville International Airport: 213
  5. Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix: 196
  6. Orlando International Airport: 162
  7. Denver International Airport: 156
  8. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport: 150
  9. Fort Lauderdale Airport 134
  10. Tampa International Airport: 131

According to TSA policy, individuals carrying loaded or unloaded firearms with available ammunition are subject to fines starting in the amount of 3,000 dollars, plus referral of the criminal case to law enforcement agencies. Those with “aggravating circumstances,” including carrying a loaded weapon at checkpoints, may be forced to pay the maximum fine.

The TSA will only pursue a civil lawsuit after the investigation is complete. When passengers violate state laws, TSA refers cases to local authorities.

The TSA also suspends PreCheck eligibility for at least five years for any passenger caught with a firearm, and routinely conducts “enhanced screening” of those passengers to ensure there are no other threats.

Passengers wishing to carry firearms are instructed follow instructions for proper packing of firearms in checked baggage and declare them to your airline at check-in.

“I am incredibly proud of our dedicated TSA employees who do the important work of keeping our nation’s transportation systems safe every day,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We had a very successful year, culminating in the passage of the FY 2023 appropriations bill, which included funding to bring TSA pay to a level commensurate with other federal employees, in addition to funding to expand collective bargaining rights for our – inspection supervision workforce.”

Travel volume is back to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, according to the TSA. Officers screened 736 million passengers, an average of more than 2 million passengers a day.


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