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TSA Officers at Nashville International See Record Number of Firearms Already This Year

TSA officers at Nashville International Airport discovered two firearms at security checkpoints on August 24, bringing the total detected at the airport to 98 this year.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Nashville International Airport discovered two firearms at security checkpoints on August 24, bringing the total detected at the airport to 98 this year. The previous annual record for the airport was 97 firearms, set in 2019. A total of 94 were found at security checkpoints in Nashville last year.

Last month, Nashville International’s TSA officers discovered 25 firearms at security checkpoints, which was the highest monthly total on record for the airport.

On August 24, a loaded Ruger .380 and Glock .40 caliber were detected in the same passenger’s personal belongings.  TSA officers notified local law enforcement, who removed the firearms and the passenger from the checkpoint area.

“Since the implementation of new gun laws in the state, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of firearms brought to Tennessee security checkpoints,” said Steve Wood, TSA Federal Security Director for Tennessee. “Passengers must remember they’re responsible for the contents of bags and our advice is they thoroughly inspect all personal belongings to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items before coming to the airport.”

While firearms may be transported in checked baggage (provided they are declared to the airline, in a proper carrying case and unloaded), they are prohibited in carry-on bags.

Having any kind of weapon, not least a loaded firearm, in the passenger area of an aircraft is dangerous to other travelers and can be easily mistaken as an intentional attempt to bring a prohibited item onto an aircraft. In addition to potential criminal charges, passengers who bring firearms to a checkpoint face civil penalties from TSA.

Elsewhere, TSA officers at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport also stopped a loaded handgun from making its way onboard an airplane on August 24. It was the 13th firearm detected at the airport this year, and the fifth in the month of August. The incident occurred around 5 a.m., and TSA officials immediately alerted Cleveland Police. The officer seized the weapon, loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition. Additional ammunition was also in the bag. The passenger, who has a concealed carry permit, said he uses his firearm at work and forgot it was in his bag.

It was a similar story at John Glenn Columbus International Airport just over an hour later on the same day. The incident occurred around 6:20 a.m., and TSA officials immediately alerted Columbus Regional Airport Authority Police. The firearm was loaded with 15 rounds. Officers escorted the passenger away from the checkpoint and confiscated the weapon. The passenger has a valid Ohio concealed carry permit and stated he forgot his firearm was in the bag.

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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