TSA reports record number of guns found in 2021

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The TSA does a lot of stupid stuff. I’ve seen them confiscate things that were clearly not guns simply because they were sort of gun-shaped. It really makes no sense to me how they approach things.


However, none of that is helped when people try to walk through airport security with a firearm in their carry-on.

According to the TSA, that level of stupidity hit a record in 2021.

New data shows in 2021, TSA agents seized more guns at airport checkpoints than ever before, with Orlando International Airport landing in the top 10 airports with the most guns confiscated.

OIA ranks in at No. 8, just behind Fort Lauderdale International at No. 7. 2021 marks the sixth year Orlando made the top 10 list.

Officials said nearly 5,700 guns were found in carry-on luggage at checkpoints nationwide in 2021, breaking the record of 4,400 in 2019.

“It was a little bit surprising being that with COVID, there were fewer passengers flying last year yet we set records across the country,” TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz said.

“Generally speaking … a good 86% of them across the country were loaded, many of those had ammunition in the chamber,” Koshetz said.

That, she said, puts that passenger, the ones around them and the workers in incredible danger.

“You see how many people fling their bags onto the X-ray belt? And a weapon that’s loaded with chambered ammunition could have an accidental discharge,” Koshetz said.

Yeah, that’s not really how guns work. We’ve had more than a century to work on the technology and what they generally don’t do is fire due to anything but the trigger being pulled.

The whole “the gun isn’t handled with kid gloves and it’ll go off” thing is popular in Hollywood, but it doesn’t check out in real life.


As things stand, only one firearm currently on the market is “known” for having that issue, and that’s the Sig P320. Even there, though, it requires the gun to be dropped and to land in a specific position with enough force to cause the weapon to fire.

It’s not something that actually happens all that often accidentally.

Further, Sig has addressed the issue.

So no, bags being slung onto a conveyor belt doesn’t put anyone at risk. I can’t say the risk is zero–weird things happen–but it’s close enough for all practical purposes.

But why are so many people trying to travel with guns?

There could be a few reasons why. One may well be that we have an influx of new gun owners, so many in fact that if X percentage of gun owners will try to fly with a gun, then you’re going to see record numbers of people doing so with gun ownership reaching record numbers.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that many of these new gun owners may not be overly familiar with how to fly with a firearm. They know you can, but don’t realize it needs to be unloaded and in a checked bag.

Unfortunately, we can’t dismiss basic human stupidity, either.

Either way, though, this isn’t beneficial to anyone, so don’t let it be you.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member