TSA says passenger brought record number of guns to airport

Security and law enforcement officials are simultaneously dealing with an unprecedented increase in belligerent passengers, who are straining systems designed to keep air travel safe. are not.

“We’ve had more cases where there’s been disturbance of passengers at both the checkpoint and the plane on board. That makes it all the more important that there’s no gun involved,” said Administration. TSA officer David Pekoske said in an interview.

The TSA reported capturing 4,650 firearms at checkpoints in the first 10 months of the year – most of which were loaded. That number surpasses the full-year record of 4,432, set in 2019.

And with 11 weeks left in the year – including the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas travel seasons – Pekoske said he thinks the number of weapons confiscated reflects an increasingly armed US population. gas.

“I think more and more people are carrying weapons around the country, and then whatever is happening across the country that we see is reflected in their checkpoints,” he said. I”. “As a passenger, I don’t want another passenger flying with me with a gun they own.”

The agency is also searching for guns at a much faster rate than they have ever experienced. During air travel during the 2020 pandemic, transportation security officers confiscated a gun from about 10 passengers out of every 1 million. This year, 11 out of every 1 million passengers were armed.

Most of the guns found were loaded – more than 3,900, or more than 80%.

“There is no such thing as a checkpoint, no airport is immune from passengers trying to bring guns through the checkpoints,” Pekoske said. “It happens more often in states where guns are shipped at a higher rate than in other states.”

Transport Security Administrator David Pekoske

TSA officers have found that guns create inconvenience for fliers at a time when many are looking to travel again and when international travel restrictions are being eased. The gun detects slow lines of control and triggers an airport or local police response. Meanwhile, aviation officials are asking airport police to be proactive in detecting drunken or agitated passengers who could cause a riot on board.

Those unruly passengers were also at a level never seen before.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday said airline crews have reported 4,724 incidents this year, including 98 in the last week. It has opened more than 880 investigations; In a typical year, it does about 180 surveys.

Penalties for attempting to bring a gun through a checkpoint start at around $2,500 for an unloaded weapon and go up to $10,000 for a loaded weapon. Penalties are higher for subsequent recidivism, though Pekoske said they rarely see repeat offenders. The agency can also revoke PreCheck memberships, local authorities can initiate criminal prosecution, and in the Pittsburgh area, the TSA said the sheriff’s department has agreed to revoke concealed carry permits. for individuals attempting to carry a gun through a checkpoint.


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