ATLANTA — With a record number of guns seized at U.S. airport security checkpoints in 2018, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport led the nation, according to a new report. Transportation Security Administration officers spotted 298 guns at the Atlanta airport in 2018, an increase of 53 compared to 2017.
The top 10 airports for firearm seizures in 2018:
In total, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country last year, a daily average of 11.6 firearms. The TSA said in a news release that last year’s national totals are about a 7 percent increase nationally in firearms at airports from the 3,957 detected in 2017.
Eighty-six percent of firearms spotted at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34 percent had a bullet in the chamber.
Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint face criminal charges and fines. Even if a traveler has a concealed weapon permit, firearms are not permitted to be carried onto an airplane, but can be in checked bags if they follow TSA guidelines.
The seizures came during a record travel year for the airline industry. A total of 813.8 million passengers and crew members passed through TSA screening, with record-breaking screening numbers during the spring, Thanksgiving and summer travel periods, the agency said. That’s more than 2 million travelers a day and a 5.5 percent increase from 2017.
Authorities remind airline passengers that firearms are never allowed at security checkpoints. Passenger who try to transport firearms through security checkpoints face criminal charges and the TSA has the authority to assess fines of up to $13,000. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900.
What is the proper procedure for transporting firearms on flights?
Firearms are never permitted in carry-on bags. Firearms are permitted in checked bags if the following requirements are met:
Firearms carried as checked baggage must be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided container, and declared to the airline at check-in. Read the guidelines.
Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on, but may be transported in checked baggage.
Passengers should check with their airline if ammunition is permitted in checked baggage. Small arms ammunitions for personal use must be packed in fiber, wood or metal boxes designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. Ask about limitations or fees.
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More information on how to travel with a firearm can be found on the TSA’s website.
National Staff Writer Deb Belt contributed to this report.
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Image Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport