Every so often, I feel obligated to write a post about how people need to be more careful before traveling. These are usually prompted by reports of guns being recovered by the Transportation Safety Authority, or TSA.
My reasons are simple. We talk about being responsible gun owners, but anti-gunners will eventually use these recoveries to claim there are a lot of irresponsible gun owners. You’ve possibly encountered some yourself from time to time doing just that.
Unfortunately, my pleas fall on deaf ears.
Security screeners confiscated guns at airport checkpoints at a record pace last year, although the total number of guns dropped along with the pandemic-induced plunge in travelers.
The Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday that screeners found 3,257 firearms on passengers or in their carry-on bags in 2020, or about 10 for every 1 million travelers. About 83% of the guns were loaded.
The rate was double that in 2019, when screeners found five guns for every 1 million passengers. However, with 500 million more travelers screened in 2019, TSA officers found a record 4,432 guns that year.
Screeners found 220 guns at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, followed by 176 at Dallas/Fort Worth International, 126 at George Bush Intercontinental in Houston, 126 at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International and 104 at Denver International.
They found 43 at Los Angeles International Airport.
At airports in the greater Los Angeles area — LAX as well as Hollywood Burbank Airport, Long Beach Airport, Ontario International Airport and John Wayne Airport in Orange County — they found a combined total of 81. That was up from 77 the year before but down from 91 in 2018 and still “well below the national average” rate, a TSA spokesperson said.
Now, it’s easy to get alarmed by this increase in numbers, but I think much of this has to do with the rate at which people were buying guns in 2020. We saw unprecedented growth in the firearms community, with millions of guns sold each month, many of whom went to new gun owners.
It seems reasonable to believe that this increase in gun sales accounts for the increase in gun seizures at airports.
That doesn’t excuse it, mind you, but I think I see where things are falling here. Especially since so many new gun owners really don’t understand what they can and can’t do. How many forgot they had a gun in their bag? How many simply didn’t realize they couldn’t just throw a gun in their suitcase and hop on a plane?
Again, that doesn’t excuse it, but I can see how it happened.
That said, don’t do it. Don’t be dumb about guns and the TSA. While the TSA is a joke in oh-so-many ways, they don’t play around with your firearms. You could face criminal charges for what was really just an act of temporary stupidity, so don’t be temporarily stupid. No one wants that, but I know you especially don’t want that.
Leave your guns at home unless you’re traveling with them in the approved manner. Don’t get the anti-gunners any more ammunition to use against us. No one needs that.