The TSA found a record number of guns in carry-on bags this year
With two weeks left in the year, the Transportation Security Administration already broke a yearly record for most firearms intercepted at security checkpoints.
The milestone comes during a period of heightened holiday travel expected to reach pre-pandemic levels.
The number of firearms found in carry-on bags went down in 2020 during the pandemic, but far surpassed preceding years in 2021 and 2022.
Firearms are never allowed in carry-on bags, regardless of state gun laws.
TSA officers stopped 6,301 firearms — most of which were loaded — and expect to find some 300 more before the year is over, according to a press release on Friday. This number already beats the all-time record, set just the previous year, of 5,972 detected firearms.
The TSA also increased the maximum fine for the violation to $14,950, it said. The agency collected more than $52 million in fines over the past three years, one TSA official told Forbes.
Anyone found traveling with a firearm in their carry-on could also lose their TSA PreCheck eligibility, need to go through more screenings going forward, or be arrested, depending on the state.
"When a passenger brings a firearm to the checkpoint, this consumes significant security resources and poses a potential threat to transportation security, in addition to being very costly for the passenger," TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in the press release. [Copyright 2022 NPR]