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Record Number Of Guns Being Confiscated At Airports
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While people often choose to travel because of cheap travel deals, such as cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, and cheap vacation packages, passenger safety continues to be of upmost concern. The good news is that guns are being stopped at airport security checkpoints. The bad news is that people are trying to get guns beyond these checkpoints in record numbers.
Over 1,500 guns year to date have been discovered at airport checkpoints compared to the prior record (set in 2012) of 1,500 guns found over an entire year. Based on trends, United States airports are expected to discover over 1,800 guns this year.
Through November 1st, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents have found 1,531 guns, of which 1,286 were loaded, and 424 had a bullet in the chamber. All guns were found either in passengers’ carry-on bags or coat pockets.
TSA has acknowledged that its procedures relating to the discovery of passenger guns have not changed.
In addition to guns, the TSA routinely discovers stun guns (nine the last week of October), cartons of bullets, and knives, which are frequently disguised in canes, belts, books, and other places.
In a continuing trend, most weapons this year have been found in states that allow residents to legally carry concealed weapons and are more likely to carry guns on a daily basis. Texas has six cities in the top 21 of cases where passengers try to get guns past airport security and Florida has five.
Given that Atlanta is the country’s busiest airport, it is not surprising that it is number one in gun seizures (91 through the end of October). Interestingly though, Chicago’s O’Hare, which is the nation’s second most trafficked airport, has discovered only twelve guns in the first ten months of the year.
New York City’s three airports together only have 14 guns discovered so far this year. Both Chicago and New York City have strict gun regulations.
Most discoveries of guns at airport checkpoints do not end with an arrest or jail time given that they tend to happen in jurisdictions where guns are legal. TSA has no power to arrest. It can only notify local law enforcement who then deals with the situation.
TSA does fine select passengers in amounts ranging from $250 to $11,000 for repeat offenders. Violators can be prohibited from signing up for TSA’s PreCheck or the State Department’s Global Entry program for a period of time.
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