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TSA report: More guns found at checkpoints in 2019, including Iowa

A new report from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says their officers found more firearms at checkpoints last year than ever before. Here in Io...

A new report from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says their officers found more firearms at checkpoints last year than ever before.

Here in Iowa, the number of guns caught at Iowa airport checkpoints increased by three in 2019, compared to 2018.

Guns caught atIowa airport checkpoints

Airport 2018 2019
Des Moines International Airport 12 12
Eastern Iowa Airport 3 5
Fort Dodge Regional Airport 0 1
Total 15 18

The TSA says 4,432 firearms were located in carry-on bags or on passengers at checkpoints across the country in 2019. That’s about 12.1 firearms per day.

The numbers from 2019 are up 5% from 2018, and represent the highest number in the TSA’s 18-year history. Of those 4,432 guns, the TSA says 3,863 were loaded, and 1,507 had a round chambered. 

The five airports with the most gun confiscations were:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International – 323
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International – 217
  • Denver International – 140
  • George Bush Intercontinental – 138
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International – 132

Only 40 guns were found at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to a full list posted by TSA.

“The continued increase in the number of firearms that travelers bring to airport checkpoints is deeply troubling,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in a news release Wednesday. “There is a proper way to travel safely with a firearm. First and foremost, it should be unloaded. Then it should be packed in a hard-sided locked case, taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared, and checked.” 

People who bring firearms to a TSA checkpoint can face criminal charges, and civil penalties from the TSA. Even if a traveler has a concealed weapon permit, weapons are not allowed on an airplane.

Travelers with the proper permits can bring firearms in checked bags if they follow these guidelines.