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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Another Near Record-Breaking Week of Handguns Found by TSA in Carry-on Bags

Seventy-five firearms were discovered last week in carry-on bags by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers around the nation. Of the 75 firearms discovered, 67 were loaded … and 31 had a round chambered.

A record-breaking 78 firearms were found one week in August in carry-on bags at airports around the nation, 68 of which were loaded and 21 had a round chambered, according to TSA.
Another Near Record-Breaking Week of Handguns Found by TSA in Carry-on Bags Homeland Security Today
The previous record of 74 firearms was set in May of 2016, 65 of which were loaded. This broke the previous record of 73 firearms set in April.

As Homeland Security Today has repeatedly reported, year after year the number of firearms confiscated by TSA continues to escalate. 2015 was a record setting year for firearms confiscations, with TSA intercepting 2,653 firearms—seven a day— in carry-on bags at airport security checkpoints across the United States.

That represents a nearly 20 percent increase over the 2,212 firearms discovered in 2014 in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging more than six firearms per day. Of those, 1,835 (83 percent) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at a total of 224 airports; 19 more airports than during 2013.

The number of hand guns found in 2014 represented a 22 percent increase over the 1,813 firearms discovered by TSA in carry-on bags in 2013.

Of the 1,813 firearms TSA screeners found in carry-on bags in 2013, 1,477 (81 percent) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at a total of 205 airports with Atlanta on top of the list for the most firearms intercepted (111).

Firearms confiscated by TSA screeners at 199 airports in carry-on bags in 2013 was a 16.5 percent increase (257) over the 1,556 firearms — or more than four firearms a day — discovered in 2012. A whopping 78.7 percent (1,215) were loaded and dozens had a round chambered.

The number of handguns confiscated in 2012 was up from the 1,320 handguns discovered by TSA screeners in 2011, which in turn was up from the 1,123 firearms screeners found in 2010.

As in previous years, the majority of handguns found in carry-on bags were loaded and many had a bullet chambered.

“The transport of firearms by commercial air in carry-on bags represents a threat to the safety and security of air travelers. Through increased training in detection methods, our officers are becoming more adept at intercepting these prohibited items,” TSA Administrator Peter V. Neffenger commented in a statement earlier this year.

The continued escalation of TSA handgun seizures comes at a time when the threat of homegrown Islamist jihadists also is continuing to grow.

In the December 2015 cover story, Destination Airport, and Guess What’s on the Menu?, published in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) Inspire magazine, detailed how to bomb passenger planes. Releasing the digital magazine on Christmas Eve was unlikely a coincidence; it was the 5th anniversary of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s Christmas Day 2009 bombing attempt on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it was on its landing approach to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

The entire issue was devoted to inspiring lone wolf jihadists in the US and the West, and especially urged attacks on commercial passenger planes. A lengthy section provided detailed instructions on how to build a new bomb AQAP purported can be “hidden” not only on an aircraft, but also to blow up other targets with the intent of causing ripples throughout US and Western economies.

The successively record-breaking number of passengers trying to slip by TSA screeners with a handgun – not an insignificant number of which have been what TSA describes as “artfully concealed,” raises the very disturbing question: were these individuals deliberately trying to sneak the guns past screeners?

While TSA attributes the vast majority of the handguns its screeners continue to confiscate to forgetfulness on the part of passengers who simply forgot they’d put a weapon in their luggage before attempting to board a plane, in those instances in which the owners of sidearms clearly tried to conceal their guns from security screeners — many loaded and chambered – nevertheless begs the question about the persons’ intent … and motivation.

Yet, even now, 16 years after the horror of 9/11, there’s still a staggering number of people who fly who nonetheless don’t understand you can’t carry a handgun onboard a commercial flight, least of all one that’s loaded with a round in the chamber.

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
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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