TSA set for record number of guns found at airports

By Chicago 5 Min Read

I’m not a huge fan of the TSA as a general rule, in part because some of the rules are just ridiculous. I get that they restrict firearms, but they’ve also restricted things like shoes and belts that just happen to have a gun motif.


It’s kind of silly.

And while I do happen to think that I should be able to carry a gun on an airplane, the reality is that what I think doesn’t dictate policy regarding airlines.

As such, you should probably not take your gun to the airport in your carry-on.

Unfortunately, it seems the TSA is looking at finding a record number of weapons at airports.

During the first three quarters of 2023, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) intercepted 5,072 firearms at airport security checkpoints, and at the current rate, the agency will surpass last year’s record 6,542 firearms prevented from getting onboard aircraft.

In the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) stopped 1,820 firearms at checkpoints. The total represents an average 19.8 firearms per day at TSA checkpoints of which more than 94% were loaded.

“Passengers may travel with a firearm, but it must be in their checked baggage,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “Firearms are only permitted in checked baggage, unloaded in a locked hard-sided case and must be declared to the airline when checking the bag at the ticket counter. Firearms are prohibited at security checkpoints, in the secure area of an airport or in the passenger cabin of an aircraft even if a passenger has a concealed carry permit or is in a constitutional carry jurisdiction.”

If a passenger brings a firearm to the TSA checkpoint, the TSO will contact local law enforcement to safely unload and take possession of the firearm. The law enforcement officer may also arrest or cite the passenger, depending on local law. TSA may impose a civil penalty up to almost $15,000, and passengers who present with a firearm at a security checkpoint will lose TSA PreCheck® eligibility for five years.

TSA recommends that passengers pack a carry-on bag that is empty to ensure no firearms are unintentionally left in their travel bag.


I’m going to say something I never thought I’d say and agree with the TSA’s recommendation here. At least then you won’t accidentally leave a firearm in your bag.

Now, with that said, I have thoughts.

First, I want to refer you to what Cam wrote about on Monday, namely how at least one US attorney wants to strip people of their concealed carry permit if they are found with a gun at a TSA checkpoint. This is almost universally the result of a mistake–no one really thinks they’re sneaking a gun on a plane by putting it in their carry-on.

Yet when we start seeing these kinds of numbers and scary reports of record numbers of guns recovered, you’d better believe someone is going to start trying to up the potential penalties. Since most of those inclined to do so are also anti-gun in general, let’s just say no gun owner is likely to enjoy the results.

With that said, I honestly have to ask how this happens and happens so much.

I mean, how do you forget where you put your firearm as a general thing? “Oh, I carried that handgun on my trip across the state last week, so while everything is ready to go, there’s a firearm in there. I should address that.”

Do these people just have so many guns that they forget where they all are?


Guys, take a few minutes to deal with your firearms appropriately. Leaving them in a bag is a bad idea as a general rule anyway as they’re unsecured in there.

No one should lose their permits because of a mistake, but on the same token, it’s on us to stop giving people who despise our rights ammunition to use against us.

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