A growing number of people are bringing their firearms with them when they travel, specifically by airplane. And this trend continues every year, raising safety concerns, especially after the TSA recently released disturbing data.
Last year, airport security teams, specifically the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), found a staggering 6,737 guns at their checkpoints. Alarmingly, 93% of these guns were loaded.
You can take your firearm on an airplane, but there are procedures to follow
The Transportation Security Administration’s spokesperson, Mark Howell, explained that it’s possible to travel with a gun, but there are strict rules that every person should follow to ensure safety. Firearms must be completely unloaded and placed in a sturdy, padded case. Any bullets must be kept separately.
Once the case is securely locked, travelers need to go to the airline’s ticket counter. There, they fill out a brief form informing the security team about the gun or other types of firearms they might have with them.
However, Howell points out a worrying trend: many travelers are not following the procedures when they have their guns with them. Some states are constantly high on the list, having the highest numbers of firearms found by the TSA.
“We are still seeing far too many firearms at TSA checkpoints, and what’s particularly concerning is the amount of them loaded, presenting an unnecessary risk to everyone at the TSA checkpoint,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in a press release.
“Firearms and ammunition are strictly prohibited in carry-on baggage. Passengers are only allowed to travel with an unloaded firearm, and only if they pack it properly in a locked, hard-sided case in their checked baggage and first declare it to the airline at the check-in counter.”
States with open carry or constitutional carry are usually higher on the list
According to spokesperson Howell, it’s normal to see more of these cases in states with open carry or constitutional carry. He explains that for people coming from these states, it’s normal to have their firearms with them almost all the time for their daily routines.
If you are caught with a firearm at a security checkpoint, local law enforcement will notify you, and you will face charges with them and a citation for up to $15,000 from the Transportation Security Administration.
The agency said it doesn’t confiscate guns, but it does contact local law enforcement agencies to take passengers and guns away from checkpoints. Whether people are arrested or cited is up to local authorities, the TSA said.
For more information on how to conceal a firearm when going to the airport, Transporting Firearms and Ammunition | Transportation Security Administration (tsa.gov)