Last year broke another record for the most firearms confiscated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), with 6,542 guns found in carry-on bags at airports throughout the country.
The TSA said in a release on Tuesday that it found the record number of guns at 262 different airports, continuing a trend of each year surpassing the previous one in total number confiscated, only interrupted in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The total for 2022 was up from the previous record of 5,972 taken in 2021. Almost 90 percent of the firearms confiscated last year were loaded.
The airports with the highest number of guns found were in big cities throughout the country.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia led the way with 448 firearms confiscated, which the release states is the most ever found at an individual airport since the TSA was formed in 2001.
The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas came in second with 385, while George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston came in third with 298.
Nashville International Airport in Tennessee followed with 213, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona rounded out the top five with 196.
The TSA said in the release that it found firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage at a rate of 8.6 guns per million people screened. It screened about 761 million passengers and crew members at airports nationally throughout 2022.
On average, the agency found one firearm for every 116,394 travelers it screened.
The release states that the TSA immediately notifies a local airport’s law enforcement agency when a TSA agent sees the image of a firearm on the X-ray screen. Airport law enforcement decides what to do with the firearm and the traveler.
But TSA can issue criminal citations and civil penalties against the traveler for bringing a firearm in their carry-on luggage. The agency considers factors such as whether the gun was loaded or if there was accessible ammunition when determining the amount for a civil penalty.
The release states firearms can only be transported on a commercial airplane if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked luggage. Upon check-in, the passenger needs to declare their firearm, ammunition and any firearm part at the airline ticket counter.