Utah ranks 10th in the nation for most firearms found in carry-on luggage

Jan 27, 2021, 4:02 PM
Utah firearms...
File photo: Salt Lake City International Airport (Photo credit: Peter Samore)
(Photo credit: Peter Samore)

SALT LAKE CITY — In a new report by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Utah ranks tenth in the nation for the most firearms discovered in traveler carry-on luggage. In 2020, the TSA says they found a total of 71 firearms in carry-on luggage at Salt Lake City International Airport while conducting routine security checks.

TSA continues to ask travelers to carefully pack their carry-on bags to ensure that firearms are not brought to the security checkpoint,” said TSA Acting Federal Security Director for Utah Grant Goodlett. “TSA officers continue to be focused during their screening duties to ensure that firearms – and other security threats – do not make it into the cabin of an aircraft.”

Locally, the TSA screened approximately 4.2 million departing travelers at the SLC airport in 2020. Of those screenings, statistics show people traveling out of SLC brought firearms in carry-on luggage at a rate of 16.8 firearms per million travelers screened, which is above the 2020 national average. The national average is about 10 firearms per million passengers screened, according to the TSA. 

Compared to previous years, the total number of firearms found at security checkpoints didn’t vary much. In fact, in the year 2020 the TSA  reported the least amount of firearms spotted in carry-on luggage. In 2018,  the TSA reported 73 firearms at security checkpoints, and 81 firearms in 2019. 

National firearm statistics from TSA

It was a record-breaking year for TSA agents. Nationally, the discovery rate of firearms in carry-on luggage doubled in 2020. That year was the highest in the agency’s history. In total, the TSA found 3,257 firearms in carry-on luggage in 2020. 

In 2020, TSA screened approximately 324 million travelers at airports nationwide — only 39% of approximately 824 million screened in 2019. Despite a significant drop in screenings because of the pandemic, the TSA said it detected roughly 10 firearms per million passengers screened as compared to 5 firearms per million passengers screened in 2019. 

TSA firearm statistics (TSA)

The top three airports with the most discoveries were:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (220 firearm finds) 
  • Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (176 firearm finds)
  • Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (126 firearm finds)

TSA protocol for traveling with firearms

People are allowed to travel with firearms, but there’s a handful of rules that must be followed in order to do so. Even if someone has a concealed carry permit, they are prohibited from bringing a firearm onto a plane. 

“Firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case, and placed in checked baggage,” said the TSA. “Any type of replica firearm is prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.” 

The TSA advises everyone traveling with a firearm to check with the airline they’re flying with for specific instructions. 

If a traveler disobeys these regulations, they could be subjected to civil or criminal penalties. The TSA said they evaluate each firearm situation differently. For example, when determining a civil penalty, the agency considers “whether the firearm was loaded and whether there was accessible ammunition.”

The best piece of advice from the TSA: don’t bring your gun through security. 

For more information about traveling with a firearm, visit here. For a full list of civil penalties and prohibited items on planes, visit here.  


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team. here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

police car at scene of tooele shooting...
Samantha Herrera

Residents shelter-in-place in Tooele as SWAT situation unfolds

The city is asking people to avoid the area of Deer Hollow and advised that anyone sheltering in place stay in their basements.
16 hours ago
people are pictured at city creek, shopping habits can be indicative of financial infidelity...
Samantha Herrera

Identifying financial infidelity and learning how to curb it

Some signs of financial infidelity are if you feel like you're spending behind your partner's back and if it's a recurring pattern.
16 hours ago
Three wildlife officers on board a state helicopter were uninjured when the helicopter crashed on L...
Simone Seikaly

Natural Resources helicopter crashes in San Juan County, no injuries

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office was alerted to the crash by a witness who saw a metallic blue helicopter go down in the La Sal Mountains.
16 hours ago
county library...
Elizabeth Weiler

Members of the council explain the Salt Lake County library tax

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Council is approving a budget that includes a property tax increase for the Salt Lake County library system.  The Salt Lake County Library is funded through property taxes paid by Salt Lake County residents. Over 60% of people have library cards according to Salt Lake County government.  […]
16 hours ago
SafeUT app...
Adam Small

SafeUT reaches 1 million messages for first the time

SafeUT worked with first responders to conduct 349 life-saving interventions in 2022. A 17% increase from the previous year.
16 hours ago
a man is pictured playing call of duty...
The Associated Press

FTC sues to block Microsoft-Activision Blizzard $69B merger

The FTC’s complaint points to Microsoft’s previous game acquisitions where Microsoft made some game titles exclusive despite assuring it wouldn't.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Utah ranks 10th in the nation for most firearms found in carry-on luggage