Skift Take

The TSA is likely doing a better job identifying firearms at a time when more and more irresponsible gun owners are either purposefully or mistakenly attempting to smuggle them onboard.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) discovered nearly 3,400 firearms in carry-on bags last year at U.S. airports, an average of nine per day across 238 airports.

“3,391 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging more than nine firearms per day,” writes the TSA on its blog. “Of those, 2,815 (83 percent) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at a total of 238 airports; two more airports than last year. There was a 28 percent increase in firearm discoveries from 2015’s total of 2,653.”

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport had the most finds, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth International and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

The large number of guns found represent a 500 percent increase over 2005, showing the effect of gradual reforms across the TSA that have increased the ability of its officers to discover weapons. Still, with 738,318,264 total passengers searched over the course of the year by the TSA, it’s likely many more guns are going undiscovered.

While a June 2016 report showed that more than half of the TSA’s workforce has been cited for misconduct, it seems that recent reforms have helped to make aircraft more secure. The TSA’s most recent blog post doesn’t go into the threat of guns being smuggled through airport checkpoints by TSA employees, and the risks entailed by gun owners legally storing their guns in checked baggage.

Here’s a breakdown of where the TSA discovered the most guns last year.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) 198
Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) 192
George Bush Intercontinental Airport – Houston (IAH) 128
Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX) 101
Denver International (DEN) 98
Orlando International Airport (MCO) 86
Nashville International (BNA) 80
Tampa International (TPA) 79
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) 78
Salt Lake City International (SLC) 75

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Tags: tsa

Photo credit: Last year, the TSA confiscated the most guns from travelers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, pictured. Josh Hallet / Flickr

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