The Transportation Security Administration found a record 3,957 guns at airport checkpoints last year, a nearly 17% increase from the previous year.
Among that average of more than 10 firearms found each day, 84% or 3,324 were loaded, according to TSA. The total compares to 3,391 guns found in 2016.
According to TSA, the most guns were found at:
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International with 245, including 222 loaded
- Dallas/Fort Worth International with 211, including 165 loaded
- George Bush Intercontinental with 142, including 124 loaded
- Denver International with 118, including 102 loaded
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International with 115, including 109 loaded
- Tampa International with 97, including 90 loaded
- Orlando International with 94, including 82 loaded
- Dallas Love Field with 93, including 81 loaded
- Nashville International with 89, including 71 loaded
- Seattle–Tacoma International with 75, including 60 loaded
TSA is routinely criticized in Congress and among watchdog agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general for missing contraband during tests at checkpoints.
But the agency continues to spot more suspicious items as training and technology improve, and as the number of travelers grows. TSA screened 771.5 million passengers last year at 440 airports.
TSA isn’t a law-enforcement agency, so the gun discoveries are handled differently depending on local laws. But TSA may impose civil penalties up to $13,066 for each prohibited item discovered.