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TSA Detects Startling Number of Guns at Airport Checkpoints in 2020



Despite a massive drop in travelers at airports across the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) revealed it had detected twice as many firearms per million passengers in 2020 compared to the previous year.

TSA officers working security checkpoints around the country discovered a total of 3,257 firearms last year, with around 83 percent being loaded. In 2019, agents found a record 4,432 guns, but also screened approximately 500 million more passengers than in 2020.

As a result, the TSA caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers screened last year compared to about five guns per million passengers screened in 2019. Travelers with firearms were stopped at 234 airport checkpoints nationwide.

“I commend our officers for their commitment to TSA’s security mission by identifying and stopping these weapons at the TSA checkpoints,” TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye said. “Firearms are strictly prohibited onboard planes in the passenger cabin.”

“Bringing a firearm to a TSA security checkpoint poses a serious risk to TSA officer and passenger safety, and doing so may result in significant fines or arrest,” LaJoye continued.

Earlier this month, the TSA announced it screened approximately 324 million passengers in 2020, a decline of around 39 percent from the previous year.

To help manage the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the TSA modified security checkpoint procedures at more than 440 federalized airports nationwide to reduce physical contact and help protect workers and passengers.

Officials also said 6,873 acrylic barriers were installed at 384 airports and another 927 CAT units were added to 125 locations. The CAT process allows passengers to scan their own ID and eliminate the need to hand the credential to a security officer.

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