Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson stated on November 5 that, in the first ten months on the year, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) discovered 1855 firearms in carry on bags. When such a discovery is made, the TSA turns the firearms over to local law enforcement, which determines whether to make an arrest. According to Secretary Johnson, 1471 (or, 79%) of the firearms discovered by the TSA were loaded. A disturbing number even had rounds chambered.
The total number of firearms discovered so far already surpasses the total for the entire year of 2013. And, the numbers for 2013 were a 20% increase from 2012. It’s difficult to determine whether the TSA is doing a better job of detecting loaded weapons or the incidence of passenger stupidity or inattention is on the rise. Passengers can pack firearms in their checked baggage, provided certain guidelines are followed.
The top five airports in order are Dallas/Fort Worth International, Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Phoenix Sky Harbor International, Houston George Bush Intercontinental and Denver International.
It’s impossible to know how many guns slip past the TSA safety net, but based on practical experience, it is a sure bet that they are catching 100% of all toothpaste tubes that exceed four ounces and other toiletries that are stored in bags that exceed one quart. Whew!