Well this is kind of alarming…
TSA detecting more guns at checkpoints
The Transportation Security Administration is seeing quite an increase in the number of people trying to bring guns through airport checkpoints. Specifically, in July 2020 firearms have been detected in carry-on bags at a rate that’s three times higher than July 2019:
- In July 2020, TSA officers detected 15.3 guns per million passengers
- In July 2019, TSA officers detected 5.1 guns per million passengers
Admittedly passenger volumes are quite a bit lower than last year — for July they were down about 75% compared to last July. As a result, the absolute volume of guns is only down slightly compared to last year. With 600,000 to 800,000 people typically traveling daily, that means the TSA is detecting somewhere around 10 firearms per day, give or take.
Keep in mind that those are only the firearms that the TSA is detecting — tests in the past have shown that the TSA misses a vast majority of firearms at checkpoints.
For some more data:
- In 2020 80% of firearms coming through checkpoints are loaded, while in 2019 that number was 87%
- 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags in 2019, averaging 12.1 firearms per day
- 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags in 2019, averaging 11.6 firearms per day
What’s the penalty for being caught with a firearm?
The recommended civil penalty for firearms detected at TSA checkpoints starts at:
- $2,050 if it’s unloaded
- $4,100 if it’s loaded
The penalty can go up to the statutory maximum of more than $10,250 per violation, depending on circumstances. Furthermore, individuals caught with firearms can also have Trusted Traveler Program participation revoked, including TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry.
I don’t get it?
As a non-gun owner I just can’t wrap my head around this. I understand people have varying beliefs on gun ownership in this country, but shouldn’t there be some level of personal accountability?
Do people not know they can’t bring a gun on a plane? Because if so, they probably shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun.
Or are people so careless with their guns that they “forget” they can’t take them onboard a plane? Because if so, they probably shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun.
Or are people trying to see if they can sneak onto a plane with a gun? Because if so, they probably shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun.
This is simply absurd. There’s a process by which gun owners can check a bag that has a firearm in it, so it’s not like people are sneaking on guns because there’s no other way to transport them. Rather this is pure recklessness, and perhaps in some cases there’s also bad intent?
In the month of July, the TSA saw the number of travelers with firearms triple compared to the same month last year. That’s incredibly alarming. Why do people have to be so irresponsible? Is it time we see bigger penalties so that people aren’t so careless?
Are you surprised by the increase in guns being detected at TSA checkpoints? And for gun owners, can you explain to me how people can so easily “forget” they’re carrying when they show up at an airport?