TSA Discovers Record Number of Carry-On Firearms in 2016



Another gun-related record has been set for 2016: more than 3,000 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

In an official blog post on Thursday, the TSA reported that 3,391 firearms were found in carry-on bags in 238 airports across the country. That’s more than nine per day.

The number is up 28-percent from 2015 when 2,653 guns were discovered. Over the past decade the number has steadily increased; in 2005, only 660 firearms were found.

Of the 3,391 firearms that were discovered last year, 2,815 – or 83 percent – were loaded.

“The number one excuse that we hear is that they forgot that they had it with them,” TSA official Lisa Farbstein told CBS Baltimore. “The second most common excuse we hear is that their wife or husband packed their bag. And I tell you what, neither of those excuses fly.”  

The airport with the most discoveries was Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; a total of 198 guns were found. Dallas/Fort Worth International came in a close second with 192 discoveries.

Guns weren’t the only thing passengers tried to sneak past security in 2016.

“There were many instances last year when travelers attempted to hide items, or the items they packed were disguised to look like other items,” the blog post reads. “TSA officers regularly find sword canes, credit card knives, belt buckle knives, comb/brush knives, knives hidden in shoes, knives hidden in thermoses and knives hidden under the bag lining near the handle mechanism.”

Passengers are allowed carry a firearm in their checked luggage. However, the passenger must declare the gun at the ticket counter, and the gun must be unloaded and stored in a hard-shell lock box. This has become the subject of much debate since the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting on January 6. The shooter checked a 9mm handgun, which he unpacked and loaded in the airport bathroom. He then exited the bathroom and opened fire in the baggage claim area, killing five and wounding six others.