Air travelers set a new record for TSA firearms confiscations in 2019.
(Photo by TSA Image)

The Transportation Security Administration recently reported its annual statistics for the year of 2019. And it’s a real doozie. The organization found 4,432 firearms at airport security checkpoints in 2019. The number set a record high, a 5 percent increase over 2018.

TSA Firearm Confiscations

TSA further reported 3,863 of firearms found were loaded. The numbers represent a drastic increase since we reported on 2017 data. Of those, 1,507 contained a round loaded in the chamber. The TSA found firearms at 278 of the 440 federalized airports. And Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport set a record month in May with 34 firearms discovered.

The top 10 airports for the most firearm discoveries in 2019:

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): 323 – an increase of 25 firearms compared to 2018
  2. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): 217
  3. Denver International Airport (DEN): 140
  4. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH): 138
  5. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): 132
  6. Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL): 103
  7. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL): 100
  8. Nashville International Airport (BNA): 97
  9. Orlando International Airport (MCO): 96
  10. Tampa International Airport (TPA): 87

Failing to remove a gun from your bag, and attempting to go through security check points, can have produce consequences. Firearms packed in carry-on bags remain prohibited. If caught, civil penalties go to up $13,333 per violation. Or worse, offenders face arrest.

TSA Firearm Regulations

  • When traveling, comply with the laws concerning possession of firearms as they vary by local, state and international governments.
  • If you are traveling internationally with a firearm in checked baggage, please check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information and requirements prior to travel.
  • Declare each firearm each time you present it for transport as checked baggage. Ask your airline about limitations or fees that may apply.
  • Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm. Only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock unless TSA personnel request the key to open the firearm container to ensure compliance with TSA regulations. You may use any brand or type of lock to secure your firearm case, including TSA-recognized locks.
  • Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.
  • Replica firearms, including firearm replicas that are toys, may be transported in checked baggage only.
  • Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage.

Finally, TSA compiled a list of all firearm confiscations in 2019, broken out by caliber and brand. It’s kind of fascinating.

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