Number of firearms found at Tennessee airports in 2020 was nearly triple national average, TSA says

TSA found more firearms in in travelers’ carry-on luggage than ever before across America

You can’t pack heat when packing your carry-on.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) discovered nearly triple the national average of firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage at Tennessee airports in 2020.

On Tuesday, the federal agency revealed that officials found 162 firearms during standard security screenings at airports across the Volunteer State last year.

Federal agency revealed that officials found 162 firearms during standard security screenings at airports across the Volunteer State last year.

Federal agency revealed that officials found 162 firearms during standard security screenings at airports across the Volunteer State last year. (iStock)

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Despite a dramatic decrease in commercial air travel due to the global coronavirus pandemic, thousands of people still apparently tried to pack weapons. Across America, the TSA found a firearm for every 99,583 passengers screened. In Tennessee, meanwhile, a firearm was found for every 35,104 people screened, according to a news release.

While the federal agency screened 324 million people at airports across the U.S. in 2020 – a slim 39% of the 824 million screened in 2019 – the TSA found twice as many firearms per million people screened last year, compared to 2020.

In this June 2020 file photo, TSA agents process passengers at the south security checkpoint at Denver International Airport in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

In this June 2020 file photo, TSA agents process passengers at the south security checkpoint at Denver International Airport in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

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More specifically, the agency revealed that 83% of the 3,257 firearms found nationwide were loaded. The total number of firearms found in 2020 also marks a record-high in the TSA’s 19-year history. The highest total number of catches reported was at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, both in Texas. 

The TSA’s official policy on the matter states that firearms may only be transported via checked baggage when unloaded and packed into a locked hard-sided container. Recommended civil penalties for firearms start at $2,050, rising up to a maximum of $10,250 per violation, according to the Tuesday release.  

Fox News’ Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.