IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

TSA confiscates record number of guns at US airports in 2012

Travelers have attempted to carry more than 1,500 firearms through U.S. airports and on board airplanes in 2012, according to the Transportation Security Administration. 

As of Friday, TSA's gun tally sat at 1,527 — 1,295 of which were loaded — and this week’s count will likely bring the final tally just past 1,550 before the year ends.

Once a weapon is found, the TSA’s job ends, David Castelveter, the agency’s director of external communications, told Skift. “We are not an arresting authority. We don’t have detention authority. If somebody comes through with a weapon the immediate procedure is to call the local authority,” he said. “There are some states where they just tell you to take it back to the car; in others you’ll end up at Rikers.”

Beyond the weekly tallies, which the TSA posts every Friday afternoon on its blog, TSA does not follow arrests, indictments or convictions stemming from firearms violations. “We just keep track of the confiscations, because the police don’t always keep us apprised of what happens,” Castelveter said. ”We don’t pay attention to the arrest unless it turns into an indictment and we have an agent give testimony in a trial.”

The second half of 2012 has seen an increase over gun activity in the first six months: In July On the National Security Beat, a project of Medill Journalism School, reported that 697 guns had been found, 170 of which were not only loaded but had rounds in their chambers.

Skift reported earlier this month that of the top 11 airports for firearms confiscation, five were in Texas, two were in Florida, and the most-confiscated title went to Atlanta’s Hartsfield – Jackson International.

More stories from Skift