TSA Intercepts More Than 3,400 Guns at Airport Security So Far in 2024

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
July 10, 2024US News
TSA Intercepts More Than 3,400 Guns at Airport Security So Far in 2024
A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent screens carry-on baggage at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, Calif, on Aug. 10, 2022. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced on Tuesday that it has intercepted nearly 3,500 firearms at airport security checkpoints so far this year.

During the first half of 2024, which ended on June 30, TSA officers detected 3,269 firearms at security checkpoints nationwide, a slight increase from the same period last year when 3,251 guns were discovered, according to a statement released by the federal agency on July 9.

In addition, the TSA said officers intercepted another 166 firearms in the first eight days of July, bringing the total number of guns stopped by officers so far this year to 3,435 through July 8.

This amounts to an average of 19.4 guns per day, the agency said. It also pointed out that more than 94 percent of firearms discovered were loaded.

The TSA also said 7.5 firearms per 1 million passengers were detected at security checkpoints during the second quarter of 2024, a slight decrease from the same period last year when the rate of discovery was 7.9 firearms per 1 million passengers.

“As a reminder, TSA does not confiscate or seize firearms,” the agency said. “If a passenger brings a firearm to the security checkpoint on their person or in their carry-on luggage, the officer will contact local law enforcement to safely unload and take possession of the firearm.”

While the number of firearms found in the first half of 2024 was slightly higher than last year, the number of passengers also increased.

The TSA said officers screened nearly 7 percent more passengers during the first half of 2024 than during the same period last year.

During the second quarter of 2024, the TSA said more than 236 million passengers were screened, surpassing the more than 221 million passengers screened in the second quarter of last year.

“During a period of record-breaking travel volumes, our officers are working hard to keep our transportation systems secure and the traveling public safe, and any time they detect a firearm, there is a real safety concern for frontline employees and travelers,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement.

“If you carry a firearm, you are required to place it unloaded and locked in a hard-sided case in your checked bag and declare it to the airline when checking in at the airline ticket counter,” he added. “Do not bring it to the checkpoint. It is costly and delays you and everyone else traveling in the same lane with you.”

Firearms are prohibited at security checkpoints, in the secure area of an airport, and in the cabin of an airplane, regardless of whether a passenger has a concealed carry permit or is in an area that allows constitutional carry.

The TSA also urged international travelers to be aware of their destination’s gun laws. The country they’re traveling to may prohibit traveling with firearms and could impose “significant criminal penalties.”

Most guns found by TSA officers were either found in passengers’ hand luggage or on their persons, according to the agency. Carrying a firearm without following the proper procedures can lead to a civil penalty of about $15,000.

The TSA may also revoke TSA PreCheck eligibility for at least five years and “conduct enhanced screening to ensure there are no other threats present,” the agency said in a statement earlier this year.