TSA confiscated average of nearly 11 guns a day at airports in 2017

  • A sampling of the 3,957 firearms airport security screeners uncovered in 2017, a 16 percent increase from 2016, according the Transportation Security Administration’s Year in Review Report. (TSA/Special to West Hawaii Today)
  • Travelers at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport make their way through a Transportation Security Administration security check before their flights out of Avoca, Pa., on Jan. 19. (Jake Danna Stevens/The Times & Tribune via AP)
  • In addition to firearms discovered last year, there were many hazardous items passengers attempted to travel with. Pictured above are just a sampling of some of the items discovered in 2017. (TSA/Special to West Hawaii Today)

More people have been packing heat in airports across the country with the TSA discovering a record-breaking number of firearms in passengers’ carry-on bags for the 10th year in a row.

Airport security screeners uncovered 3,957 firearms in 2017, a 16 percent increase from 2016, according to the Transportation Security Administration’s Year in Review Report. The majority of those guns — 84 percent — were loaded at the time.


The amount of firearms discovered at airport checkpoints has consistently climbed in the last decade, the total more than quadrupling since 2007, according to the report.

Guns were discovered at 239 airports nationwide, with Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport taking the top spot for most firearms seizures. A total of 245 guns were recovered at the Georgia airport, 222 of them loaded.

Federal law allows for passengers to transport unloaded guns in a locked, hard-sided container. It must be declared, and the gun can not be packed in a carry-on.

In addition to firearms, the TSA in 2017 recovered “thousands upon thousands” of sharp items in carry-on bags as well as other hazardous items — including live grenades and large quantities of gun powder.


While properly packed ammunition is allowed in checked bags, gun powder is prohibited altogether.

Officers also recovered scores of “inert items,” including a replica suicide vest, a realistic looking land mine and dozens of fake grenades and explosive devices.