Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials seized a record number of firearms in 2015 at airport security checkpoints. The TSA seized a total of 2,653 guns last year, which represents an increase of approximately 20 percent from 2014. Eighty-three percent of the firearms seized were loaded.
The guns were seized at 236 different airports throughout the United States. Believe it or not, the guns were found in carry-on bags, meaning that the passengers were trying to board commercial jetliners with their guns. The number of guns seized in 2014, amounting to 2,212, also broke previous records.
Increase Due to Improved TSA Effectiveness
The administrator of the TSA, Peter V. Neffenger, says that the increase in seizures was the result of "increased training in detection methods, our officers are becoming more adept at intercepting these prohibited items." As such, airline customers may not have cause for alarm. The increase in firearm interception may not be due to an increase in firearms, but the result of improved security scanning.
Not surprisingly, due to Texas' liberal gun laws, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport saw the most TSA gun seizures. Other airports leading the pack in terms of gun seizures were Atlanta, Houston, Denver and Phoenix.
Over 40 Million More Passengers Screened Last Year
Still, it is important to put these gun seizures into perspective. The TSA screened over 708 million people last year. That is approximately 1.9 million people a day, representing an increase of 40.7 million from 2014. The increase in passengers could also be part of the reason for a rise in gun seizures.
Federal Air Marshals are still riding in airplanes for security reasons, flying over a billion miles last year. Also, 98 percent of airline customers passed through airport security checks in under 20 minutes.
Trying to board an airplane with a firearm could get you arrested and in serious trouble with the law. If this has happened, and you were charged with a crime, you may want to consult with a criminal defense attorney to coordinate your defense.
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