Record-Setting Number of Firearms Discovered at Airport Checkpoints in 2018

It has been a milestone year for TSA as 2018 was marked by a record number of travelers and significant security enhancements. A total 813.8 million (813,791,287) passengers and crew members passed through TSA screening, with record-breaking screening numbers during the springThanksgiving and summer travel periods. That’s over 2 million travelers a day and a 5.5 percent increase compared to 2017. These efforts are a testament to the coordination and collaboration between our industry partners and the hardworking men and women of TSA.

One of TSA’s significant accomplishments in 2018 was our work – in partnership with airports, airlines, and international partners – to complete the rollout of stronger carry-on screening procedures. Even more noteworthy was the signing of H.R. 302, FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which includes the TSA Modernization Act, that marked the first ever reauthorization of TSA since the agency’s founding in 2001. The reauthorization act empowers TSA to expand field operations and testing of advanced screening technologies, increase use of canine resources and enhance public area security. In addition, TSA released both its first ever Cybersecurity Roadmap that improves protections against cyberattacks on our transportation system and the Biometrics Roadmap, which will enable testing of new technology at airports. In coordination with our industry partners, we reached a significant milestone with the Known Crewmember® (KCM) program, clearing over 100 million crewmembers since its inception in 2011.

Throughout the year, TSA officers demonstrated great professionalism, dedication, integrity and remained committed to the mission to secure you – the traveling public. Thanks to their vigilance and skills, TSA officers intercepted a record number of firearms in 2018.

  • A record setting 4,239 total firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging 81.6 firearms per week. That’s an average of 11.6 firearms per day.
  • 3,656 (86.15 percent) of the total firearms discovered were loaded – another record.
  • 1,432 (33.74 percent) of the total firearms discovered had a round chambered.
  • The most firearms discovered in one month – a record setting 32 – were discovered in August at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
  • Firearms were intercepted at 249 of the 440 federalized airports.
  • That’s more than a 7 percent (282 more) increase in firearm discoveries from 2017’s total of 3,957.

The top 10 airports that led in firearm discoveries in 2018:

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): 298 – an increase of 53 compared to 2017 (253 loaded)
  2. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): 219 (193 loaded)
  3. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): 129 (120 loaded)
  4. Denver International Airport (DEN): 126 (95 loaded)
  5. Orlando International Airport (MCO): 123 (112 loaded)
  6. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH): 117 – a decrease of 25 firearms compared to 2017 (115 loaded)
  7. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL): 96 (80 loaded)
  8. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS): 93 (76 loaded)
  9. Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL): 89 (83 loaded)
  10. Nashville International Airport (BNA): 86 (80 loaded)

Read more at TSA

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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