As they say in sports, records are made to be broken. Unfortunately TSA reported a broken record: The number of firearms seized hit an all-time high.
Just last week, TSA reported taking away 32 guns and a cane sword. Of the 32 guns, 24 were loaded.
Actually, this was a slower week because TSA also reported that this year already set a record for firearm seizures, hitting 2,000 confiscations for the first time ever. And this is with one month to go in a busy travel season.
This works out to be over 40 weapons a week that passengers attempt to carry on a plane. Leading the pack this year is Dallas/Ft Worth (DFW) with 109. Atlanta (ATL) is in second place with 93 and Phoenix (PHX) is third with 73.
A quick look shows how the number of weapon carry-on seizures has been skyrocketing:
- 2006 – 821
- 2007 – 803
- 2008 – 926
- 2009 – 976
- 2010 – 1,123
- 2011 – 1,320
- 2012 – 1,556
- 2013 – 1,813
And this is just firearms. Not counted in this total are things like the fake grenades that make their way into carry-on bags, or even the cane sword seized last week.
With so many reminders not to do this – and with so much at risk – it still boggles my mind why it happens so often. At many airports, passengers with weapons can face felony charges and end up in jail. Forget just missing this trip, it could mean years in prison. If you are lucky, they just remove you from the TSA PreCheck list. I say lucky because they could also place you on the no-fly list, which means no air travel at all. Oh, and TSA can impose civil fines but frankly, that would be the least of someone’s concern at this point.
There is no gray area in this rule. Well, there is to the extent they make individual decisions whether or not someone will be arrested. Outside that, the rules are clear about bringing weapons on planes. They are posted right here.
While I am sure there are no BoardingArea readers that would ever attempt to carry a weapon on a plane, please do your friends and family a favor this holiday season and remind them to check the contents of their carry-on bags very carefully before going through the TSA security lines. Oh, and ask them to check their bodies, too. Weapons are often found in pockets, waistbands, and around the ankles.
Don’t have a trip – much less possibly a lifetime of travel – ruined over something like this.