WISCONSIN — A record number of firearms have been intercepted at airport security checkpoints this year, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
As of Dec. 16, TSA has intercepted 6,301 firearms this year so far across the United States. TSA said 88% of those firearms were loaded. TSA said it expects that number to rise to 6,600 through the end of the year.
The previous record was set in 2021, when TSA intercepted 5,972 firearms.
Firearms are not allowed in carry-on bags, regardless of if the passenger has a concealed weapon permit.
“I applaud the work of our Transportation Security Officers who do an excellent job of preventing firearms from getting into the secure area of the airport, and onboard aircraft,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “Firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags at the checkpoint and onboard aircraft. When a passenger brings a firearm in their carry-on bag, this consumes significant security resources and poses a potential threat to transportation security, in addition to being very costly for the passenger.”
As of Dec. 19, 21 guns have been detected at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport; in 2021, 23 guns were intercepted at MKE. Four guns have been detected at Dane County Regional Airport so far this year; in 2021, seven guns were intercepted at MSN. Two guns have been detected at Appleton International Airport so far this year; in 2021, two guns were intercepted at ATW. One gun has been detected at Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay so far this year; in 2021, TSA did not intercept any guns at GRB.
The maximum civil penalty for a firearms violation is $15,000; passengers can also lose eligibility for TSA pre-check for at least five years. TSA said it “determines the penalty amount for a violation based the circumstances in each case.”
TSA said if it does find a firearm, it will call local law enforcement. Passengers are subject to “enhanced” security screening and could be arrested depending on state and local law.
TSA said if an airline passenger wants to fly with a firearm, they need to check it with their baggage. Firearms also must be declared when the passenger checks in to the airline. Passengers are also subjected to airlines’ respective firearm rules and regulations.
Information on traveling with firearms via air can be found, here.