In a perfect post-9/11 world, no one stepping onto a commercial flight would think to carry a firearm through an airport security checkpoint.
But we don’t live in a perfect world. The Transportation Security Administration reports that airport screeners have pulled 2,000 firearms from travelers so far this year.That’s up 10 percent over the 1,813 uncovered firearms for all of 2013. The numbers have steadily increased from 660 in 2005.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport had the most uncovered firearms at 109. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta had 93; Phoenix Sky Harbor, 73; and George Bush Intercontinental in Houston, 68. Sari Koshetz, TSA spokeswoman, said Kansas City International Airport was the 18th highest in the U.S. with 28 firearms uncovered. Lambert-St. Louis International Airport had 27.
People found with guns on them or in their carry-on luggage are referred to police for possible prosecution. They also could face civil penalties of up to $11,000. Passenger safety remains a priority. A loaded gun on a person or in carry-on luggage could accidentally go off creating life-threatening problems.
“As we’ve gone further from 9/11 people are not paying as much attention to what is in their bags,” Koshetz said. She recommends that people unpack luggage that they have set for travel and repack it to make sure that what they might carry on car trips will pass airport security screeners.
Relaxed gun laws in many states could be responsible for people forgetting that they have weapons on them or in their luggage.
Unloaded firearms can be transported but only in checked baggage and in locked, hard-sided containers secured from being accessed. Passengers must tell airline personnel about the weapons. It’s for everyone’s safety.