TSA reports more guns found in luggage as passengers return to airports

Aug 10, 2020, 3:53 PM
TSA guns...
(Travelers going through the security checkpoint at Salt Lake International. Credit: Paul Nelson, file)
(Travelers going through the security checkpoint at Salt Lake International. Credit: Paul Nelson, file)

As airports begin to see a five-month high in air traffic, TSA reports finding guns in passenger carry-on bags at three times the rate before the pandemic — with 80% of these guns loaded. 

Security officers found roughly 15.3 guns for every 1 million people screened at airports in July. Last July, security officers found a much smaller 5.1 guns per million people. 

“Even more concerning is that 80% of the firearms coming into the checkpoint are loaded, and it’s just an accident waiting to happen,” David Pekoske, TSA administrator, told USA Today.

The numbers come at the same time airports across the U.S. are reporting more travelers. TSA agents screened 831,789 people Sunday. It’s the first time TSA has topped 800,000 people since March 17 — when several states began experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Pekoske said the coronavirus pandemic forced security officers to adapt already to increased risks.

“[N]o one should be introducing new ones,” he said. 

U.S. laws allow passengers to travel with guns in checked bags, but only with the guns unloaded. Passengers must also transport those weapons in a locked case. However, passengers who improperly pack a gun in carry-on bags could face federal civil penalties. Violators could also lose Pre-Check privileges. 

However, the TSA leaves most criminal charges up to local authorities to decide. 

In 2019, TSA reported 4,432 guns found in carry-on bags — or roughly 12.1 per day. Around 87% of those guns were found loaded. 

Today’s Top Stories


A police officer holds a gun. Mass shootings, like the one in Uvalde, prompted the gun buyback prog...
Martha Harris

New poll gives insight on what Utahns think causes mass shootings

Even before the mass shootings in Uvalde and Highland Park, the question of what causes these attacks has had a spotlight.
13 hours ago
A screenshot of a facebook post made to the parents of Macie Hill....
Mark Jones

Father of girl who died in Kaysville parade is thankful for those who helped

An 8-year-old girl died Monday in an accident during the Kaysville Fourth of July Parade. Her father is thankful for all who assisted his daughter.
2 days ago
A German Shepard lays on the ground...
Mark Jones

Dog dies after being left in hot car for more than an hour

A dog died Tuesday after being left in a hot car for more than an hour, according to Salt Lake County Animal Services.
2 days ago
A house in Spanish Fork was on fire late Monday night....
Mark Jones

Spanish Fork house catches fire after fireworks not properly extinguished

Officials said a house fire in Spanish Fork was a result of recently used fireworks not being disposed of properly. No serious injuries were reported.
2 days ago
Utah Highway Patrol stopped 4,937 vehicles over the Fourth of July weekend....
Mark Jones

Busy Fourth of July weekend for Utah Highway Patrol

In statistics released Tuesday, the Utah Highway Patrol says its Troopers made contact with 4,937 drivers over the Fourth of July weekend, making it a busy one.
2 days ago
Utah County Sheriff's Office badge....
Mark Jones

As one blaze is nearly contained, new Soldier Fire starts up

The Soldier Fire started up Tuesday in Utah County. According to Utah Fire Info, the blaze is near Highway 68 at milepost 15.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
TSA reports more guns found in luggage as passengers return to airports