The Transportation Security Administration announced earlier this week that its officers had confiscated a “record setting” 3,957 firearms from carry-on bags in 2017, well surpassing the 3,391 firearms discovered in 2016.
The TSA, however, had also confirmed that it screened 771.5 million passengers in 2017, up from 738.3 million in 2016.
The organization released these findings in its annual “Year in Review” blog post on Monday, along with statistics concerning where these firearms were confiscated, and details of other prohibited or dangerous items found by TSA officers.
Of the 3,957 firearms confiscated by the TSA, 84 percent — or 3,324 — were found to be loaded, while 34.8 percent of the total confiscated firearms were round-chambered. Other statistics show that firearms were only discovered at 239 of the 440 federalized airports, with agents confiscating 31 from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport in the month of August alone.
Hartsfield-Jackson was also listed as the top airport for “firearm discoveries” (245) followed by Dallas/Fort Worth (211), George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston (142), Denver International (118) and Phoenix Sky Harbor International (115).
The TSA further revealed that its officers confiscated grenades, smoke grenades, flashbang grenades, gun powder, and ground burst simulators at various airports. In other cases, a “replica suicide vest” was discovered in the bag of an explosives ordnance disposal contractor who failed to give proper notice that he was traveling with the item, and a few inert blocks of explosives were found in the bag of a military instructor who “forgot they were in his bag.”
The TSA’s blog post urged passengers to check any bags they haven’t used for a while, lest they inadvertently travel with a prohibited weapon or device. The agency can impose civil penalties of up to $13,066 per violation, or more for repeat offences.