TSA Continues to Find Loaded Guns in Passenger Luggage

Guns have been in the news a lot lately, but passengers continue to try to bring them through security at the nation’s airports despite the best efforts of the TSA to publicize this security problem. And according to one report, the number of guns confiscated so far this year is on track to become a record breaker.

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29 Guns Found Last Week

Just last week, TSA officers confiscated 29 firearms around the U.S. The airport with the most guns was Texas’ Austin-Bergstrom International with six, followed by Atlanta with four. This total was by no means the record, though – 41 firearms were discovered earlier this month (along with 40 stun guns, 4 grenades and even a rocket launcher) while 42 guns were confiscated in October. The vast majority of these guns, it should be noted, are loaded.

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Passenger Excuse – “I forgot”

Over the years, passengers caught with guns have overwhelmingly given security the same excuse: they forgot the weapon was in their bag. The same explanation is tendered by people who presumably should know better including a lawyer at Dallas’ airport and a flight attendant in Philadelphia. It’s not that transporting guns on airlines is illegal – it’s not. But there are rules that must be followed.

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Rules for Guns on Planes

The first rule to remember is that no guns (or most knives or many other weapon-like objects) can be transported in a carry-on bag, nor can they be on a passenger’s person. Guns are only allowed in checked bags under the following conditions:

  • Firearms must be declared to the airline at the airport ticket counter (so arrive early)
  • Firearms must be unloaded
  • Firearms must travel in a locked, hard-sided case

Violators Risk Delays, Arrest

Finally, always check with the airline to see if there are other requirements for gun transport. Those who break the rules can cause lengthy flight delays, miss planes and may be subject to arrest.


Published: December 19, 2012