Last year, the woman who was leaving from Philadelphia’s airport remembered to put snacks, medicine, and a cell phone in her handbag. But what she forgot to unpack, a loaded.380-caliber handgun in a black holster, was more important.
Last year, the Transportation Security Administration stopped 6,542 guns at airport checkpoints across the country. This gun was one of them. The number, about 18 per day, was an all-time high for guns stopped at U.S. airports and is causing concern at a time when more Americans are getting guns.
TSA administrator David Pekoske said –
“What we see in our checkpoints really reflects what we’re seeing in society, and in society there are more people carrying firearms nowadays”
Except for the year 2020, when there was a pandemic, the number of weapons caught at airport checkpoints has gone up every year since 2010. Experts don’t think this is a big problem with would-be hijackers because almost everyone caught says they forgot they had a gun with them. However, they stress the danger that even one gun in the wrong hands can pose on a plane or at a checkpoint.
From Burbank, California, to Bangor, Maine, guns have been caught. Pekoske said that it happens more often at larger airports in places where it is easier to carry a gun. In 2022, Dallas, Austin, and Houston in Texas, as well as three airports in Florida, Nashville, Tennessee, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Denver are on the list of the top 10 places where guns are taken away.
Pekoske isn’t sure if the “I forgot” excuse is always true or just something people say when they get caught. He said that it doesn’t matter, it’s a problem that needs to stop. When TSA workers think they see a weapon on the X-ray machine, they usually stop the belt so the bag stays inside the machine and the passenger can’t get to it. Then they call the police in their area.
The consequences depend on what the local and state laws say. The person could be arrested and the gun could be taken away. But sometimes, they can give the gun to a friend who is not flying with them and keep going. Guns that aren’t loaded can also be put in checked bags, as long as the right steps are taken. The gun was taken away from the woman in Philadelphia, and she was going to have to pay a fine.
The TSA uses these federal fines to punish people who bring guns to checkpoints. Last year, as a deterrent, TSA raised the maximum fine to $14,950. People also lose their PreCheck status, which lets them skip some kinds of security checks, for five years. It used to be three years, but the agency extended the time and changed the rules about a year ago.
People could also miss their flight or lose their guns. It is a federal crime if federal officials can prove that the person wanted to bring the gun past the checkpoint into the airport’s “sterile area.” Keith Jeffries, a former TSA employee who has since left the agency, said that stopping people with guns can also slow down the line for other passengers.
Jeffries said – (According To Yahoo News)
“It’s disruptive no matter what,”
“It’s a dangerous, prohibited item and, let’s face it, you should know where your gun is at, for crying out loud.”
Want to know more about breaking news?
- New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade Route Reported Five Shootings. A Suspect Was Arrested After One Died
- A Industrial Explosion In Ohio Causes A Fire And Injures 14 Persons
Experts and government officials say that the reason there are more guns being found is because more Americans are carrying guns. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is a trade group for the shooting sports industry. It keeps track of FBI data about background checks done before a gun sale. In 2000, there were just over 7 million, and last year there were about 16.4 million. During the coronavirus pandemic, they went up even more.
It can be shocking for the TSA agents who are looking for banned items. Janecia Howard was watching the X-ray machine in Atlanta when she noticed that a passenger’s laptop bag had a gun in it. She marked it as a “high-threat” item right away, and the police were called.
Howard said it felt like her heart dropped, and she was afraid the passenger might try to get the gun. The passenger turned out to be a very sorry businessman who said he just forgot. Howard says that she knows that traveling can be stressful, but that people need to be careful as they get ready for a flight. She said You have to be aware and pay attention. That’s your stuff.
On a busy day, about 85,000 people go through checkpoints at Atlanta’s airport, which is one of the world’s busiest. In 2022, 448 guns were found there, but that number was actually lower than the year before. The head of the TSA in Atlanta, Robert Spinden, says that the agency and the airport put in a lot of work in 2021 to try to deal with the large number of guns that were being found at checkpoints.
In November 2021, something happened that showed how important their work was. A TSA agent thought he saw a gun in a passenger’s bag. When the officer opened the bag, the man reached for his gun, which went off when he did. During a congressional hearing last year, the airport’s general manager, Balram Bheodari, said that people ran for the exits and the airport was closed for 2 1/2 hours.
New signs were put up to get the attention of gun owners. Over a checkpoint, a hologram shows the image of a rotating blue gun with a red circle and a line through it. Messages saying that guns are not allowed flash on a number of 70-inch TV screens in a rotating pattern.
Spinden said –
“There’s signage all over the airport. There is announcements, holograms, TVs. There’s quite a bit of information that is sort of flashing before your eyes to just try to remind you as a last ditch effort that if you do own a firearm, do you know where it’s at?”
Pekoske said that signs are not the whole answer. Travelers already have to deal with a lot of signs and announcements, and they don’t always pay attention. He also likes the idea of slowly increasing fines to get people’s attention.
But Aidan Johnston from Gun Owners of America said he would like to see the fines lowered because they don’t stop people from carrying guns. Even though he thinks new gun owners should learn more, he doesn’t think this is a “major heinous crime.”
“These are not bad people that are in dire need of punishment,” he said. “These are people who made a mistake.”
Officials think they catch most of them, but since 730 million passengers were checked last year, even a small number getting through is a worry.
Cliff Waddell, a musician, was stopped at the checkpoint on his way from Nashville, Tennessee, to Raleigh, North Carolina, last month. A TSA employee saw a gun in his bag. Waddell was so surprised that he thought it couldn’t be his bag because he had just flown with the same bag the day before. It turned out that the gun was in his bag, but the security check missed it. Pekoske says TSA knows about the mistake and is looking into it.
Waddell couldn’t figure out how the gun he keeps locked in his glove compartment ended up in his bookbag until he remembered that he took it out when he took his car in for repairs. Waddell said he knows it’s his job to know where his gun is, but he’s worried that the TSA missed something so important.
Our motto is “information on time,” and our proud team really takes these words to heart. News Conduct is a platform that gives you the latest news. We encourage people to check our website often for the latest news.