At least four people every day in the U.S. make life very difficult for their fellow passengers when they try to bring a gun (not to mention the other travelers who can't leave their knives, blades, and grenades at home) on board an aircraft.
One day early last week, a TSA screener at a U.S. airport found the 1,500th firearm that a passenger attempted to bring aboard an aircraft in 2012. Friday’s count brought the total to 1,527 — 1,295 of which were loaded — and this week’s count will likely bring the final tally just past 1,550 before the year ends.
Skift reported earlier this month that of the top 11 airports for firearms confiscation, five were in Texas, two were in Florida, and the most-confiscated title went to Atlanta’s Hartsfield – Jackson International.
Once a weapons is found, the TSA’s job ends. David Castelveter, Director of External Communications at TSA, told Skift, “We are not an arresting authority. We don’t have detention authority. If somebody comes through with a weapon the immediate procedure is to call the local authority. There are some states where they just tell you to take it back to the car, in others you’ll end up at Rikers.”
Beyond the weekly tallies, which the TSA posts every Friday afternoon on the TSA Blog, the TSA does not follow arrests, indictments, or convictions stemming from firearms violations. “We just keep track of the confiscations, because the police don’t always keep us apprised of what happens,” said Castelveter. “We don’t pay attention to the arrest unless it turns into an indictment and we have an agent give testimony in a trial.”
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Photo credit: Sample of weapons found at U.S. airports the week of December 17, 2012. TSA Blog Team / The TSA Blog